Updates on CMO, Ethics

An update (admittedly belated) on the now-defunct CMO magazine, which was based in Framingham:

Paul Conley reported last month that former CMO editor-in-chief Rob O'Regan has a blog called Magnosticism, where he blogs mainly about marketing and advertising. But the blog also houses some of the content from CMO. Since CMO's closing, the articles are is no longer available from CXO Media, but the company has given O'Regan permission to reproduce them on his blog.

You may remember that CMO won ASBPE's Magazine of the Year award in its first year in existence.

In the same post, Conley notes that Ryan Block, editor in chief of the blogazine Engadget, has posted an open letter to the industry about IntelliTXT-style pop-up ads that appear on keywords on some web sites' stories.

You can read our previous posts on the subject of IntelliTXT here.

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More on Second Life

Following up on our previous post about the online virtual world Second Life, here's a good article on the subject from BtoB online. The Sept. 10 article, "Second Life has some firms guessing" reports that B2B media company CMP Technology has ventured into the world of Second Life, developing Second Life content for other companies. (Here's the CMP press release announcing the new offering.)

The article also talks about some Second Life's limitations and how companies are working around them. Most notably, system slowdowns and crashes start to happen when event attendance reaches about 60 attendees. (It's interesting to note that even a large company like Intel typically gets only 15 to 20 people attending its Second Life forums, though.) The piece also mentions alternatives to Second Life. Deloitte U.S., for instance, is using one virtual world to recruit employees; a custom-developed application lets prospects participate in a game where they solve business problems. And, perhaps most important, the article sheds some light on what metrics can be used to measure ROI for Second Life projects.

Also see:

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Upcoming Conferences on Digital Media

Two conferences on new media are coming up soon:

Nov. 28-Dec. 1, Boston
Effective Strategies for Media Companies: Navigating the New World
This program offered by Harvard Business School will focus largely on business strategy. The course is designed for "mid-level and senior media executives at the business-unit or corporate level," according to the HBS web site, and it's priced accordingly; the cost is $5,750, but that covers tuition, books, case materials, accommodations, and meals. You must apply to be admitted to the program; admission is based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility.

Dec. 10-11, New York
Web Video Summit
The conference has two tracks:

The summit takes place at New York's Roosevelt Hotel (where August's ASBPE National Editorial Conference was held). If you register by Nov. 21, prices are $595 for a one-day pass or $995 for both days; after Nov. 21, they go up to $695 and $1,095 respectively. An exhibit-hall pass is free through Nov. 21 and $50 after that.

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Ethics Guidelines in the Digital World

Noelle Skodzinski, the editor of Publishing Executive magazine, attended our National Editorial Conference and wrote an excellent editorial about our session on web ethics. It's called " 'Pay to Play' OK in the Digital World?"

In it, she points out that many media companies produce webinars or webcasts that are sold to a single sponsor. Sometimes that sponsor even is in charge of the content. She notes:
Some editors (including those with high editorial standards), say, "As long as the content is useful for my audience, I'm OK with this." After all, the sponsorship enables the content to be provided to the audience free of charge.
As long as it is transparent to the audience that the webinar is paid for by the sponsor(s), putting that sponsor on the panel seems to be an accepted practice among many reputable companies. If the content is useful, what’s the difference? In other words, if the content is useful, then ‘pay to play’ is OK, right? A lot of editors could (and do) create some really usefulprint content based around their print advertisers, too. Does that make it OK?
As Skodzinski points out, the ASBPE code of ethics doesn't address this specific issue with regard to webinars or webcasts. Section IV, Part B, item 3 of the ASBPE ethics code does say this about advertiser-sponsored sections or supplements in print:
3. The Editorial Role. The editorial staff should not assign, write, edit, design, or lay out special advertising sections or supplements. However, editors should review, revise, and approve for publication any advertising section or supplement to ensure that editorial standards are followed.
Transferring those same standards to the web, as Skodzinki suggests doing, would seem to mean that editors would not appear in or help produce webcasts sponsored by a single advertiser.

It could be argued that this directive, from Part A of that same section, should govern webcasts:
A. Single-Sponsored Issues

1. Labeling and Appearance. In the case of an advertiser sponsoring an entire issue, full disclosure must be made of the relationship in a prominent part of a publication’s pages, e.g. the cover, table of contents, or in a special introduction by the editor or publisher. Special care and explanation must be given to readers to avoid the appearance of editorial content being affected by the sponsorship.

2. Use of the Logo. In a single-sponsored issue, the publication’s logo may be used, but the editorial content must be held to the same standards that apply for a non-single-sponsored issue.
But in Section VII, the code has this to say about web site content:
The editorial department should control all editorial content on a publication’s digital publication, including Web site, blogs, e-newsletters, digital magazines, and others. Standards such as accuracy, attribution, fairness, and balance applying to a publication’s printed editorial material also apply to a publication’s Internet or digital presence.
And later on in the same section:
Special advertising sections online should also be clearly identified.
It seems clear to me that any given piece of web content -- including an audio podcast, webinar, or video -- should either follow the rules for web content cited immediately above, or else follow the rules set forth for an advertiser-sponsored section in a print publication. The guidelines for a single-sponsored issue would not apply, because the advertiser is not sponsoring the entire web site, but an individual piece of content on the site -- in essence, it's the same thing as if an advertiser were to sponsor an individual story in the print magazine in which it is also quoted.

Skodzinki has also posted on her blog about this issue. And in reading it, to my embarrassment, I realize that we have failed to comply with our own code of ethics in this blog. Specifically:

G. Blogs and Other Online Features or Publications

These should be ... have easily understood user guidelines, includingn general rules, etiquette, privacy issues, and related policies. Statements concerning expected decorum and the control of an editorial moderator or supervisor over the blogs or other online discussion forums should be explained.
We have not posted a specific policy here. The ASBPE bloggers are working with the national officers and members of the ethics committee to come up with a formal policy. But in the meantime, here are the general guidelines I've been operating under:

1. All views expressed are the individual author's and may not reflect those of ASBPE.

2. All comments submitted to the blog by users are moderated by the blog editor (for the ASBPE Boston blog, that's me). Commenters are allowed to post anonymously, without signing up for a Blogger ID, but the blog's authors reserve the right not to publish those or any other comments that don't meet certain criteria. For instance, comments containing personal attacks will not be posted. In addition, spam or advertisements will not be posted, nor will comments whose main purpose seems to be to plug a particular product or service (at the discretion of the blog's editor).

3. As for privacy, ASBPE will not collect your contact information from this blog. Privacy for those who subscribe to this blog via email is governed by the policies of FeedBlitz, the third party that provides that functionality.

Please post any comments or questions here, or direct them to me at mspizziri at rcn dot com.

Update, 9/25/07: I forgot to add that Publishing Executive has sent an e-mail survey to its readers on some of the issues brought up in Noelle Skodzinki's editorial, and the results will be published in the next issue and posted on PubExec.com, too.

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Post Job Listings for Free

The site NewsJobs.Net has been redesigned and upgraded the site, and they're offering free employment ads through September. So if you're looking for an employee, you might want to try it out.

Of course, it's always free to post a job listing on the ASBPE web site.



Slide Show: ASBPE National Conference Highlights

Click to start slide show.
We've just posted a slide show of last month's National Editorial Conference in New York. The slides provide a sampling of the conference speakers’ wisdom and a glimpse of the festivities at this year’s national Azbee Awards. You can also comment on the slides, share them with others, or offer ASBPE your feedback.

The slide presentation was posted via a site called SlideShare that speaker Rex Hammock mentioned during the his conference session on new digital technologies. SlideShare made it very easy. You sign up for a free account, create the slides in PowerPoint, OpenOffice, or Apple's Keynote and upload it. It then gets converted to a Flash file, with all the navigation controls built in. And it was remarkably easy to post the slide show right on our site, so that visitors can look at the slide show or email it to others right from asbpe.org. I just had to pick up some code from a little window on SlideShare labeled "Embed in your blog":

and plop it into a web page.

If users click through from our site to SlideShare.net, they have even more options -- they can leave a comment or send feedback for us, subscribe to be notified about any slide shows we might post in the future via RSS, save our slide show to a list of favorites, or add it to their own blog, FaceBook or MySpace page, or web site. SlideShare also makes it easy to specify how others can use your slide show with a Creative Commons license.

There are some limitations. Right now, you can't post slide shows with audio or video embedded in them, although you can synchronize your slide presentation with an audio file that you have uploaded to your own web space. Also, I noticed a quirk or two. For instance, link text that is more than one line long doesn't work very well when the slides are converted to the Flash format; you have to make sure any linked text in your slide show does not

I hope to post a few thoughts about the conference here soon. In the meantime, enjoy the slide presentation.

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Learn About Web Skills for Freelance Writers

The Cambridge Center for Adult Education is offering a class called "The Changing Landscape of Freelance Writing" that sounds perfect for freelancers who want to get started learning the web skills that everyone seems to be telling us we need. From the class description:

Freelancers need to know not only time-tested basics - successful query letters, editor etiquette, and getting attention from target publications - but also: blogging, pod casting, branding, supplementing income through other kinds of writing, and more. Together, we will work on the basics, and chart our way through the new waters of the modern freelance world.

The Wednesday-night course starts Sept. 26 and goes for eight weeks. The Cambridge Center is located in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass.

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Upcoming MediaBistro Courses and Videos

MediaBistro has some great educational offerings coming up, both here in Boston and online. The site also offers short educational videos that you can pay for and watch online. Some are one-offs and some that are part of series on a particular topic.

Here are two online classes of interest--but both start today, so you'll have to sign up ASAP:

Boot Camp for Magazine Editors
Designed for assigning editors.
4 weeks, $350. Starts Sept. 11, 2007

Intermediate Copy Editing
6 weeks, $425. Starts Sept. 11, 2007

And these also start this week:

Writing and Editing for the Web
4 weeks, $350. Starts Sept. 12, 2007

Advanced Copy Editing
4 weeks, $350. Starts Sept. 13, 2007.
Cheryl Della Pietra

Intro to Copy Editing
6 weeks, $425. Starts Sept. 13, 2007.

Other online classes:

Grammar, Punctuation, and Meaning
4 weeks, $350. Starts Sept. 17, 2007.

Online News Writing
4 weeks, $350. Starts Sept. 17, 2007.

Create and Launch a Website
8 weeks, $599. Starts Sept. 18, 2007.

Writing Scripts for Online Video
4 weeks, $350. Starts Sept. 25, 2007.

Feature Writing
Researching, writing and selling narrative-driven features
4 weeks, $350. Starts Oct. 2, 2007

Classes taking place in Boston include:

Writing and Editing for the Web Essentials
3 hours, $65. Starts Oct. 9, 2007.

Breaking into Financial Writing
3 hours, $65. Starts Oct. 9, 2007.

Copy Editing Essentials
3 hours, $65. Starts Oct. 30, 2007.

And some videos you can pay for and watch online:

Blogs Every Media Professional Should Know
Course description from Media Bistro:
Find what you need on the Web without drowning in too much info
2.5 hours, $29

From MediaBistro course synposis:
For those struggling to keep pace with the blogosphere, tech expert Sree Sreenivasan gives a thorough introduction to the key players of the online world, delving into the present and future of the web as a media outlet.

It covers all the blog basics but focuses on the best blogs for and by media professionals. Topics include:
1) blogs that are changing America and the world,
2) how to read blogs without drowning in too much information,
3) how to create a blog and raise your Google rankings,
4) why journalists should and should not be blogging, and
5) what to expect next: photoblogging, videoblogging, tagging, podcasting, wikis, RSS, and XML.
His presentation is a fun, informative, fast-paced survey of the blog world.

Get Noticed on Wikipedia
Course description from Media Bistro:
Increase and influence your web presence on the world's largest encyclopedia

How Online Video Is Changing the Internet, Part 1: Overview
Course description from Media Bistro:
Understand how online video works, where and how it's being used on the web, what makes it effective, and what the future most likely holds
21 mins., $15

How Online Video Is Changing the Internet, Part 2: Making Your Mark -- and a Healthy Profit
Course description from Media Bistro:
How amateurs, corporations, and mainstream media are making money with online video, plus tips for creating compelling content
15 mins., $15

Web 101: Understanding Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, and Mobile Internet
Course description from Media Bistro:
Make sense of the internet today and get ready for the future
15 mins., $15

Writing for the Web: Guidelines for Writing Online
Course description from Media Bistro:
A 15-minute crash course on understanding your online audience and writing copy that's searchable and user-oriented
15 mins., $15

Writing for the Web: Is Writing for the Web Different from Print?
Course description from Media Bistro:
A crash course for editors and writers making the switch from print to online
15 mins., $15

Writing for the Web: Understanding How Readers Use the Web
Course description from Media Bistro:
A crash course for editors and writers to master site usability and drive traffic
15 mins., $15

See a full list of MediaBistro's upcoming Boston and online classes and training videos.

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ASBPE Joins TABPI in Offering Magazine Critique Service

ASBPE and Trade, Association and Business Publications International (TABPI) are offering the Magazine Critique Service (MCS), which is designed as an affordably priced entry-level option for B2B magazines interested in improving their content. Two editors and a designer examine two of your recent issues and provide a report with detailed feedback on your publication. The editors and designers who do the critques have judged magazine awards competitions, won awards themselves, and/or actively work in their professional associations.

A Standard Critique from the MCS is $625 -- $575 for ASBPE members. If you want more feedback, you can opt for a Premium Critique, priced at $975 ($925 for ASBPE members). The Premium option includes a TABPI/ASBPE-approved editorial consultant as one of your publication's reviewers. In addition to the report you receive, you and your staff will get a one-hour conference call with the consultant so you can ask questions about the review.

The MCS is a seasonal offering, and there is a deadline for submissions of Oct. 1.

See a sample MCS report (535K PDF).
Download an order form (49K PDF).
See the MCS FAQ.

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