Now ASBPE members can get advice about the ethics of an editorial or advertising practice.

ASBPE’s new Ethics Advisory program offers members a formal process for receiving timely guidance on specific situations.

When an ethical question arises, an ASBPE member can send an email to ASBPE’s Ethics Committee at ethicsquery@asbpe.org.

The committee will review the matter and issue an ASBPE Ethics Advisory within 10 business days.

As needed, the committee will expedite its consideration and, if appropriate, notify news organizations of ASBPE’s interest in the issue.

The advisories may address situations that are not specifically covered in ASBPE’s Guide to Preferred Editorial Practices.

The advisories will not disclose the identity of the person requesting it or the parties involved in the situation at issue.

Each advisory will state the ethical question followed by the conclusion reached by ASBPE’s ethics committee. The advisory will discuss the relevant factors and cite the applicable portions of ASBPE’s Guide to Preferred Editorial Practices.

For the benefit of all ASBPE members, the advisories will be posted in the Members Only section of the ASBPE Web site.

Advisory about PR reviews

The first advisory addresses whether public relations representatives should be permitted to review an article before publication. ASBPE members can read the advisory here.

“For years our members have relied on us to establish and maintain ethical norms in the business and trade press,” Steven Roll, national president of ASBPE, said. “Our immediate past president, Roy Harris, did a great job of leading the effort to update ASBPE’s ethics guidelines to address contemporary issues such as ads placed within the text of Internet-based publications.

“But it is inevitable that members will ask questions that are not specifically addressed by the guidelines,” Roll said. “In the past, these queries were often handled on an informal basis.”