Editorial Ethics: Taking Transparency to Heart

At this year's national conference, ethical issues were discussed at a session with lots of audience participation. ASBPE's Code of Preferred Editorial Practices and our research on ethics formed the basis of the discussion.

One of the points the new code stresses is the importance of transparency. If you work by a set of ethical standards, not only your staff, but advertisers and readers, should know what those standards are. Although to us as journalists, the idea that we should adhere to certain principles might seem so obvious that we don't have to state it, to our audience and others in our market it may not be clear what rules we play by--or even whether we have any rules at all.

Maury Wright, editor in chief of Reed Business Information's EDN magazine, took this message home with him from the conference. His Aug. 17 editorial lays out for readers the magazine's operating principles and invites feedback. He also points out an area in which EDN has to fine-tune its policy.

I hope Maury's readers take him up on his invitation and tell him how well they think EDN is handling ethical issues, and what their perceptions of the magazine have been thus far. That's the kind of information we all could use.

And all this, of course, begs a question: How is ASBPE doing?

Whether you're a member or just occasionally attend ASBPE events, or even if your participation is limited to reading this blog, we'd like to know where you think ASBPE's doing a good job--ethically or otherwise--and where it's lacking. I'm already thinking that ASBPE could make its own operating guidelines more explicit. Leave a comment here or send me an email and let me know what you think.

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