Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Improving our reputation

B2B journalism has many problems. But certainly the largest problem we face is our reputation. The ugly truth is that trade journalism is often thought of as second-rate and unethical.
Back when I launched this blog a few years ago, I did so with one primary purpose -- to call for a new era of professionalism in B2B publishing.
And by and large, I have been pleased by what I have seen. Furthermore, I have been impressed by the hundreds of B2B journalists I have met who believe that our work is both vital and honorable.
So this week, as we in the U.S. celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I'll be expressing gratitude for all of the folks in B2B that work to ensure that those of us who toil in the trade press be thought of as talented and moral professionals.

But when the holiday ends, I'll go back to the trenches. Because this fight isn't over.
Consider if you will the nasty tone of this article in MediaPost, in which the writer says :"You’ll rarely get a point of view in a trade magazine that’s not biased by some hidden agenda. "(Thanks to Prescott Shibles for pointing me toward the piece. His response can be found here.)

Although I am disappointed to see an article like that in 2007, I am not surprised. The trade press is an easy target. We make ourselves an easy target.
For every hero in B2B, there are whores.
For every champion, there are cowards.
But I believe that bit by bit, day by day, article by article, we are becoming an industry worthy of the love we show it.
And that progress is all because of folks like you -- the readers of this blog.
So thanks. And Happy Thanksgiving.

(Note: It was almost exactly a year ago that the Wall Street Journal suggested that trade journalism was a less-than-ethical backwater in the media world. Click here to see my reaction.)

tags: , , , , , , , , advertising


  1. This amusing at some level. I edit a small trade publication. With some regularity we receive ads that are designed to resemble editorial; we have a history of insisting that they be labeled as advertisements while "more respectable" mainstream media outlets have run them without the label. We also receive lots of communication from advertisers that they will run an ad campaigns if we will run particular editorial subjects or formats. We don't comply.

    I'll ask to leave myself anonymous because the point is not to pat my publication on the back. The point is that the trade press is not a monolithic entity. There are good and bad publications just as there are good and bad folks in every business.

    The MediaPost writer should be embarrassed to write in broad generalizations. But to tar him with his own brush, perhaps he gets more clicks that way than he would by putting some real effort into his crappy search articles. (How d'ya like being on that end of the generalizations, Mr. Simon?)

  2. We (editorial) fight as hard as we can to retain our integrity, but the challenges are certainly there. Sometimes we get the "we'll run ads if you run particular editorial subjects," but more often lately we've had accurate reporting called out because advertisers didn't like that it might put them in a negative light. And the sales staff falls all over themselves to make good, promising a "correction." Sales people need journalistic ethics training just as much as journalists do.