The above picture was painted in a request for guidance a concerned editor submitted to ASBPE’s ethics committee. The committee is comprised primarily of individuals with senior management experience. Advisories, handled on a confidential basis, are a free service offered to ASBPE members. Full response to the “hooks” inquiry currently is posted at www.asbpe.org.
One might think the committee would leap to the defense of the inquiring editor. Instead, the conciliatory course of action recommended was to be more realistic when evaluating “hook” dilemmas. The following excerpt from an opinion written by one committee member reflects a realization that top management expects today’s editors to be more engaged in marketing affairs:
“A trade magazine has two levels of readership: The primary targeted readership and the secondary supplier base that serves this targeted audience. Editors need to be more creative and imaginative in addressing these needs without feeling they’ve betrayed their ethical standards. There are many legitimate articles that can be written for your primary readership that also have a marketing/advertising potential for salespeople to leverage.”
Observed another committee member: “We don’t know for a fact that ALL advertisers are NOT interested in the editor’s recommendation. We only know that salespeople believe they can not sell it. Perhaps some advertisers would love the topic if only they were approached.”
Then there is this observation:
And one more comment: “The problem really is not that one side champions quality and the other does not. What both sides feel but can’t say or won’t say is that they have no clue how to make money anymore.”
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The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) is the professional association for full-time and freelance editors and writers employed in the business, trade, and specialty press.