B2B Journalist Ethics: An ASBPE Guide to Best Practices

View our guide to journalistic ethics best practices for B2B editors.

ASBPE Ethics Advisories

ASBPE Ethics Advisories are opinions issued by ASBPE’s ethics committee on ethical questions submitted by members. They are based on ASBPE’s Guide to B2B Journalist Ethics Best Practices. They are available only to ASBPE members.


When I assumed the ethics committee chair position four years ago, I had one reservation: would I be able to respond to a flood of inquiries from editors besieged with imposing integrity concerns.  Not to worry, I soon learned. Reason? For the most part, most members fell into either the “silent majority” or “forever swamped” category . . . or both.

Silent majority, of course, has been a popular political issue. It refers to the thousands of citizens besieged with multiple problems who elect to keep mum rather than speaking out because nothing will come of it. “Forever swamped” is a category I devised to explain the mood of many B2B editors. The groups often have two things in common:

  1. Those who would love to speak out, but are in fear of repercussions from above.
  2. Those who would love to speak out, but are so swamped by their day jobs that there is never time to take advantage of opportunities to improve their lot . . . ethical or otherwise.

Over the past few years, those folks willing to discuss concerns insisted that their names never be connected to any articles appearing in Ethics News Updates. I thank them for their trust in agreeing to share experiences.

As for the swamped folks, time is obviously at a premium. So whenever I post a LinkedIn group discussion addressing an ethical concern, it’s no surprise that responding traffic is very light. But the very next day, if somebody posts an inquiry, say, about whether or not every word in a headline should be upper case, this lofty subject draws dozens of responses.

No matter which group you are in, know that ethics committee members constantly consider ways to provide programs with high take-away value. Thus . . . we launched this newsletter in 2013. Soon after, we introduced B2B virtual roundtable conferences as well as a Town Hall program at our National Conference. And this year, we started work on a Facts Management Guide. A first step in that direction was posting a list of excellent URL resources, like the group you’ll find in this issue.

In the coming year, what else can we do to help you, and in the process, convert members of the silent or swamped majority into at least more of a vocal minority?

Let me know what you think!

Read all stories from the latest update:

Read past Ethics News Updates: