If Church & State Is Extinct, Find Ways to Save Editorial Integrity
Editorial ethics is not a topic that ordinarily attracts a concerned readership. The topic itself may have plenty of supporters, but speaking out when clashes between sales and editorial reach boiling points is rare. Despite that reality, last week I chose to invite responses to a discussion about the future of the traditional journalistic separation of church and state. And this time, the show of interest rose several levels.
In another recent blog entry addressing the same issue posted elsewhere, I included the future of editorial integrity among a list of five high-profile challenges B2B editors must confront. Our main hurdle clearly involved complications related to the pandemic, during which revenue had taken a solid beating. Saving the sinking ship required an all-hands-on-deck response. For editors, this meant unchecked support in the form of content favorable to advertisers.
Despite this challenge, alert editors have found creative ways to ensure that the content published still offers exceptional reader value. It is such an approach that must be conveyed to top management as well as editorial and sales teams.
In one remarkable case cited by a reader, a publisher “ended up in getting plenty of sponsors who realized that having their names attached to something of importance was gold, even if they had no say in the content and it wasn’t at all related to what they were selling.”
As one editor-in-chief noted, “some level of separation of church and state should be there to protect advertisers—and the value of their marketing investment—as much as to protect editorial integrity.”
Once again, readers are invited to speak out on this topic. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 201-569-7714.