“Separation of church and state” in the trade media has always been a great editorial tradition. In other words, news and other editorial information are published based upon merits and not influential advertisers.
My first writer was previously the editor of “Circuits Manufacturing Magazine,” an electronics trade publication that was quite popular back in 1977. He told me about a major Fortune 500 company that threatened to “pull their advertising” unless one of their articles got placed in the magazine. Well, he didn’t knuckle under, didn’t run the article, and the company did pull their ads briefly. That was a victory for the magazine’s editorial integrity. Those were the good old days!
In 2011 one of my clients told me that he bought his way onto the front cover of a major trade publication. I was disheartened by that revelation because it hurts me too. Actually, it hurts everyone. His product was on the front cover as a result of purchasing an advertisement in the magazine and they threw in a “freebie.” Wow, a front cover freebie! Think about it, if I revealed the publication’s name, would you respect the value of their news? I don’t believe so!
Venmark International has had hundreds of products published on the front covers of leading industrial, scientific, and technical magazines and websites since 1977 and we’ve always taken pride in the fact that our clients’ products were selected because our product news releases were “informative, well-prepared and credible.” Editors could easily decide the relevance to their readership. We certainly have never bought advertising.
I’ve been through several economic cycles during 35 years in business, I understand survival during tough economic times and I realize the media’s need to support their advertisers. However, the great irony is that objective news improves the editorial product and, therefore, the value to advertisers. A classic example is The Wall Street Journal. A company is not going to buy their way into The Wall Street Journal and because of the Journal’s impeccable reputation, you can literally “bank on” the Journal.
Hopefully, in 2012 more editors and publishers will return to supporting their readers rather than their advertisers by employing the “separation of church and state” tradition. With all of the media outlets, in-print and online, editorial integrity matters more than ever today.