ASBPE Publishes Second Book,
Journalism That Matters


ASBPE's new book Journalism That Matters takes a look at how reporting by business-to-business and association publications has brought about major changes in both government and industry. The book presents 17 case histories from a variety of publications--not only trade magazines and tabloids, but also newsletters, association publications, peer-reviewed journals, and publications like PC World that straddle the border between trade and the consumer media.

Examples of some of the case studies:
  • The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration took action on sloppy chemical warnings after investigation by Daily Report for Executives.

  • Transfer Pricing Report helped the U.S. and Canada countries agree on trans-border tax issues.

  • The U.S. Department of Defense admitted to weaknesses in its computer network after a report by Federal Computer Week.

  • Federal agencies stepped up their verification of job applicants after Government Computer News uncovered egregious resume padding by a top Homeland Security IT official.

  • London-based Legal Business exposed problems with one of the country‚Äôs most important courts, causing the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales to reform the Technology & Construction Court.
The case studies are all by editors who are members of, or have had their work recognized by, ASBPE or Trade Association and Business Publications International (TABPI).

You can get more information on the book, including a chapter-by-chapter summary, here.

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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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ABM Provides Data on B2B Marketing Trends

Back in June, I posted about research commissioned by American Business Media on how business executives use B2B media, and how they view it versus general business media.

Now ABM has available on its site a PowerPoint presentation called "B-to-B Digital Marketing Shift" that provides some insight on where B2B marketers will be spending their money.

Among the findings:
  • The marketers consider industry-specific marketing venues--trade shows, magazines, web sites--more effective than their general-business counterparts.

  • They named in-person events and industry-specific magazines as the most effective branding vehicles. The Internet was thought to be as effective at branding as general business magazines or television.

  • The marketers found in-person events, industry-specific magazines, and online marketing to be the most effective outlets for lead-generation.

  • Fewer marketers plan to make use of general business magazines, direct mail, and newspapers; those who do plan to use these media "will only minimally increase spending," according to ABM.

  • 48% of B2B marketers use online marketing today, spending 24% of their budget online
You can download a copy of the PowerPoint here (2.4MB).

There's also a very short (six-page) trade-show specific version of the presentation (92KB).

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TABPI Launches Magazine Critique Service;
Submissions Due Sept. 22

ASBPE's international counterpart, Trade, Association, and Business Publications International (TABPI) has launched an interesting service--the first of its kind that I've heard of. It's called the Magazine Critique Service (MCS), and was conceived of as a medium-priced option for smaller (or just limited-budget) magazines that may not be able afford outside consultants to help them carry out a full redesign.

At a cost of $575, the Standard Critique gets your publication examined by three reviewers, who'll provide specific feedback on the magazine's editorial and design. TABPI gives a report to the editor, who can thoroughly review the results with the editorial and design staff. Sample reports are here (80KB PDF) and here (44KB PDF).

TABPI is also offering a Premium Critique service at $975. With this option, one of the three reviewers is a TABPI-approved editorial consultant, who'll conduct a one-hour conference call with you and your staff. You'll also get a written report.

The TABPI web site has a list of some of the reviewers, reproduced here:
Be aware: There's a deadline. To make the program feasible, it will be offered for only a few months of each year. This year's submissions must be received on or about Sept. 22, 2006. TABPI says publications should get their reports about 8 to 10 weeks after receipt of the submission.

Complete information about the MCS, including answers to frequently asked questions, a submission form, and links to the sample critiques, are available on the TABPI website.
 

Two New ASBPE Blogs;
New Look for Boston Blog

Two new ASBPE blogs have joined this one and the Kansas City Chapter's ASBPEkc blog: Washington, D.C., and Dallas/Forth Worth.

Since last fall, ASBPE has been experimenting with chapter blogs. As Spring Suptic notes in the Kansas City blog, we've been experimenting with layout, design, and functionality, and the two new blogs meld parts of the KC chapter blog with the design of the national site. The ASBPEkc, Washington DC, and Dallas/Fort Worth blogs all have replaced those chapters' web pages on the national ASBPE web site. Some time in the next week, this blog will be updated with a similar look and will become the chapter's official web page. The new look will be a little better designed and easier to scan. And you'll be able to sign up to get the latest posts emailed to you, so you won't have to visit the site or even check an RSS reader to find out if something's new.

The next chapter to go over to a blog format will be Minneapolis/St. Paul, probably in September.

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Call for Judges: 2007 Azbees;
Accepting Applications This Fall

Now that the 2006 ASBPE Awards of Excellence have been given out, ASBPE is looking for people who are interested in judging the 29th annual Azbees. We need judges in all categories--editorial, design, web, and newsletter. You can choose which specific categories you're most interested in judging, whether it be Best Case History, Best Web Database, Best Feature Design, or any of about 40 others.

There are certain requirements we're looking for:
  • Must be currently working (includes freelancers) or retired from a B2B publication--minimum of five years' experience in B2B.

  • Must be willing to judge 10 to 300 entries, depending on the number of entries in your assigned category.

  • Must be willing to commit the time necessary to judge the categories appropriately.

  • Must be willing to judge your category during a one-month period between March and April.

  • Must be willing to judge entries objectively.

  • Most categories are judged by at least two people. Discussion with second judge is recommended, but must be available to review with second judge if asked.

  • Must be willing to write a short description (five sentences max) of the positive elements of your top five entries in each circulation category (over 80,000, under 80,000).

  • Every entry must be evaluated and given a score.

  • To avoid conflicts of interest, no person may judge a category in which his or her magazine has entered.
If you are interested in becoming a judge, fill out and e-mail this form (24K Word doc) to info@asbpe.org, or fax it to (630) 510-4501.

Download a hard copy of the judging requirements (108K Word doc).

Update, 8/18/06: The Aug. 31 deadline I had previously included in this post was not a hard deadline, so I removed those references. ASBPE will accept judging applications during August and September, and possibly a little beyond that.
 

Former Reed Exec Krakoff To Head VNU Business Media

Via B or not 2B: Robert Krakoff, who is the former vice chairman of Reed Elsevier USA and chairman/CEO of that company when it was Cahners, has been named CEO of VNU Business Media. Here are links to some of the coverage:

VNU's press release
 

Missed the ASBPE Conference? Here's a Recap

The Kansas City Chapter of ASBPE has been posting summaries ASBPE's National Editorial Conference sessions on its blog. I'll blog a little bit about the conference myself, and ASBPE members can look for more conference coverage in upcoming issues of ASBPE's newsletter. But in the meantime, here is the KC coverage to date. It's well worth reading.

Update, 12:48 p.m.: There's now a link to all of Kansas City chapter's conference summaries. More will be added, so you can check the KC conference summary page in the next few days and weeks for new posts.
 

MOY Winner Salutes Barr Award Winner

You'd think that accepting the American Society of Business Publication Editors' 2006 Magazine of the Year award would have been the singular highlight of my attendance at ASBPE's recent annual conference in Chicago. It wasn't.
That's a quote from July 31 editorial by Don Tennant, editor in chief of ASBPE Magazine of the Year (80,000 or more circulation) Computerworld.
Photo: Shabnam MogharabiPhoto: Don Tennant
ASBPE Young Leaders Scholarship recipient Shabnam Mogharabi's Barr Award-winning story was singled out by Computerworld editor Don Tennant (right).
Tennant goes on:
As gratifying as that honor is, and as proud as I am of the Computerworld team it recognizes, there was something else I enjoyed just as much: the opportunity to meet a certain journalist who also received a prestigious ASBPE award.

That journalist is Shabnam Mogharabi, who won the third annual Stephen Barr Award for feature writing. Mogharabi, also one of this year's ASBPE Young Leaders Scholarship winners, was honored for her two-part feature in Aquatics International titled "Minority Report," in which she delved into why minority youths account for a disproportionately high number of drowning deaths in the U.S. [Links added.]

I was impressed enough with Mogharabi to be compelled to read her story, and I was appalled by the stereotyping she uncovered.
Mogharabi's story is clearly meticulously researched. It includes historical insights, statistical data, and an exhaustive number of interviews. Erika Taylor, editor of Aquatics International's sister publication Pool & Spa News (where Ms. Mogharabi is business news editor), noted: "As is typical for her, she became deeply involved in the topic, interviewing more than 50 sources, and combing through myriad government documents. The result was a piece of journalism that stands among the best I've read during my tenure with this magazine."

Judges called the piece "[c]ompelling from start to finish." I agree. Beyond the fact that it's well written and researched, it's an important topic--not only for its specific audience, but for educators, parents, and local, state, and federal policymakers. I hope that Mogharabi's reporting catalyzes positive change in its industry, as other B2B reporting has done.

Read Part 1 of Mogharabi's article: "In the Minority"
Read Part 2: "Reaching Out"
 

Ziff Davis (Officially) Up for Sale

There have been rumors for months. Now I read, via B or not 2B, that it's official. See this article from Folio:, Ziff Davis Owner Officially Seeks Sale. And see this article from PaidContent.org for some speculation on how the company might be broken up.