Ethics concerns apparently hit a chord; several media outlets pick up on ASBPE’s exclusive survey report.

March 31, 2006-  Ethics is big news. After ASBPE released the results of its ethics research, a number of blogs, print media, and e-newsletters picked up the story.

Ethics Pleas Falling on Deaf Ears?

One of the more interesting pickups was by min’s b2b print newsletter on Jan. 16, 2006. With a lead headline on page 1 that read “Editor’s Survey Finds B2B Ethical Standards Going To Hell in a Handbasket,” the article began:

Hardly an American Business Media conference goes by without a solemn panel of B2B editorial executives, usually scheduled on the last day when attendance is dwindling, decrying the state of editorial ethics and Church/State relations in publishing today. These sessions typically include lengthy commentary on the many business and branding benefits of fostering lively editorial with little interference from the business side when conflicts with advertisers arise.

The kicker? “Well, if a new survey from the American Society of Business Press [sic] Editors means anything, their words are largely falling on deaf ears.”

The article continues on to cite the statistics. “Perhaps the most startling revelation in the survey,” the newsletter stated, “is that nearly one-third of the editors who say their publications have a formal editorial code feel that management ‘only sometimes’ backs them up. . . .

“But if the scope of the discontent reflected in this survey … (… a very, very strong response rate of 43.6%…) — is accurate, publishers have an awful lot of work to do to create a better balance between business and editorial. …”

B2B, Mainstream Organizations Alike Cite Study

Another publication, BusinessMedia, ran the ASBPE press release virtually in its entirety with the headline “ASBPE B-to-B Editors Voice Dissatisfaction Over Ethics Environment.” You can find the story here.

An e-newsletter from the Center for Media Research covered the story as well. The headline read: “Business Publication Editors Strive for Updated Editorial Ethics.”

BusinessJournalism.org also published the story in their ethics section
under the headline “Survey Highlights Ethical Concerns in the Newsroom,” even though the group is largely geared to newspapers. Read the article here.

In the article, Kevin Sweeney wrote: “For business reporters and editors at daily newspapers, the survey brings the newspaper code of ethics under the magnifying glass and refreshes critical communication issues for senior management.”

Sweeney quotes Mary Flannery, enterprise reporter with the Philadelphia Daily News: “Yes, some advertisers push the editorial side — usually indirectly, but sometimes directly. I have found that they expect to be rebuffed. They just have to ask but they would be shocked if the request got any traction.”

“In a separate survey recently conducted by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at the American Press Institute,” Sweeney wrote, “several respondents indicated there was too much of a blur between editorial and advertising departments.”

Coverage also appeared in Folio: magazine’s e-newsletter and Paul Conley’s blog, among other places.