I attended the ASBPE conference here in New York yesterday, where the final session covered ethics in our industry. No one in the room seemed to have any problem in drawing the line between editorial and advertising. And the presence of such clarity about what is right and what is wrong left me feeling encouraged. Even more pleasing was that throughout the day people kept coming up to me, introducing themselves, and thanking me for the work I've done on ethics on this blog. So when I left the hotel last night, I was feeling positively gleeful.
Then I checked my email.
I opened a newsletter from Folio and read an article that reminded me that things aren't always what they should be in magazine publishing, and that many people in our industry do not make us proud.
Folio reported on a scandal in which the editor-in-chief of XXL Magazine appeared in an ad in his magazine.
Take a look here.
Clyde Smith at prohiphop.com first broke the news about the inappropriate ad. And Folio quotes from comments I made that appear on Clyde's site.
But it's not just me, Clyde and the folks at Folio who question the actions of XXL's editor. Marlene Kahan, executive director of ASME, told Folio that "No person on an editorial staff should ever be involved in producing or participating in advertising."
I was pleased to see that ASME was willing to weigh in on this issue. XXL's editor-in-chief was wrong. And ASME had an obligation to say so.
However, I cannot hide my continued disappointment that ASME (and ABM) have failed to weigh in on the IntelliTXT scandal. As of today, we've been waiting three months for word from either group.
In other words, ABM and ASME have failed to do in three months what ASBPE managed to do in a day -- issue a statement saying that IntelliTXT ads violate our industry's ethics rules.
(Addendum: Regular readers of this blog, and most anyone who has heard me speak in recent months, know that I generally sing the praises of XXL -- or at least of its Web site. It was back in November that I first became aware of the work of Jason Brightman on xxlmag.com. You can read here how impressed I was. Jason recently left XXL to join IDG, a client of mine. )
tags: journalism, b2b, media, trade press, magazines, newsletters, business media, journalism ethics, advertising