International Publications Competition Seeks Entries

If you publish an English-language overseas edition, you may want to enter it in the Tabbie awards. The Tabbies are sponsored by the Cleveland-based group Trade, Association and Business Publications International (TABPI), a worldwide organization founded about three years ago by past ASBPE national president Paul Heney. Its mission is to bring together editors at English-language publications worldwide. ASBPE has been a sponsor of the Tabbies since their inception.

The group gives out editorial and design awards in categories like Best Single Issue, Best Editor's Column. Best Feature Article, and Best Opening Page or Spread. Last year's winners included more than a dozen magazines published by New England-based companies.

The deadline for entries is March 7. Winners will be announced around July 1.

Entry forms are available on the TABPI web site.

If you have questions, contact Paul Heney at, (440) 238-7880, or, via fax at (440) 238-7606.

What Chapter Meetings Would You Like to See This Year?

The Boston/New England chapter board will be meeting in the next few weeks to plan chapter programs for 2006. Some ideas include:
  • a presentation on turning good writing into lots of clicks on your web site.

  • tours of the Christian Science Monitor and/or NECN.

  • a one- or two-day minicourse for editors, possibly in conjunction with one of the local journalism schools.

  • basics of podcasting.

If you have any suggestions about panel discussions, seminars, or other programs you'd like to see the chapter undertake, please let us know by leaving a comment below or by emailing Alan Earls, Martha Spizziri, or another chapter officer (see list at left).

Quincy Publisher Looking for Web Editor

The National Fire Protection Agency is looking for someone to write, edit, and update content on the its necdigest and NFPA Journal web sites.

For more details, see the job listings on the ASBPE web site.

The Demise of CMO

Last week, Framingham-based IDG subsidiary CXO announced that it was suspending publication of 16-month-old CMO, a magazine for chief marketing officers.

As you may know, CMO was one of ASBPE's two Magazine of the Year award winners last year, when it was only in its first year of publication (CMO was the winner in the under-80,000 circulation division.) In fact, CMO won quite a few awards in its short life.

In a letter to readers, chief editor Rob O'Regan expresses hope that the suspension will be temporary. I hope that's true. In any case, the web site will stay up for now, and the magazine's blog will continue to be updated.

CXO has started five publications to date. With the demise of CMO, now only two have survived--CSO and CIO. (Webmaster and Darwin also folded their print magazines, although the Darwin franchise still exists as a web site and a newsletter.) At September's ASBPE Boston chapter meeting, CXO Media executive editor Lew McCreary noted that CSO would turn a profit for the first time in 2005--its third year of publication. But apparently CMO's problems were bad enough that the company couldn't wait three years for things to improve.

Maybe part of the problem can be chalked up to launching during a relatively soft ad market, or to a relatively new audience. It certainly seems as if CMO did a lot of things right. In making decisions about the editorial direction for some of its other publications, McCreary said, the folks at CXO largely "went with their gut." But for CMO, they took a different approach. They interviewed a lot of CMOs. They got IDG research services to do "rigorous" research (McCreary's adjective) to find out what CMOs buy and confirm that CMOs would be interested in receiving a publication that met their needs.

And CXO didn't ignore reader feedback, either, even when that feedback was negative. After CSO's launch, for instance, McCreary got a lot of mail from readers saying they not getting the editorial approach right and were missing a great opportunity. Instead of getting offended, he called some of those readers in for a conference. "They berated us for about two hours about what a crappy job we were doing with this great opportunity," he said at the chapter meeting, but added, "Our progress was accelerated greatly by the input we got."

Addendum, 5:27 p.m.: According to Folio: magazine, the CMO site will come down on March 1, although Rob O'Regan doesn't mention that in his letter to readers. Folio:'s article on CMO's folding was one of the more informative pieces. BtoB also ran a short item about it.

Update, Jan. 20: For those who might have missed Rob O'Regan's comment on this post, CMO magazine has no plans to shut down its site on March 1. They plan to keep the site live as they consider their options.

Are B2B Pubs' Ethics Second Rate?

ASBPE's ethics research has received a few mentions in the press--notably in Folio: and on Paul Conley's blog. Both put the research results in the context of recent ethical concerns (such product placement in magazines and editors selling ad space), but Conley's mention is a bit more pointed:
... the simple truth is that B2B publishing is still riddled with inappropriate behavior. And it's routine for many trade journalists to put up with behavior that mainstream journalists would never tolerate.
He cites editors selling ads and magazines running in-house ads as editorial copy as examples of things that would never happen at a consumer publication.

So where does this split between mainstream and (at least some) B2B pubs come from? Is it the narrowness of B2B pubs' niches (and the consequently small pool of advertisers to draw from)? Are some B2B pubs influenced by the business culture in the industries they serve? Does the controlled-circ model make a difference? Or does such a split exist at all?