Sneak Peek at a Critique

By Paul Heney
Past ASBPE National President

When I served as ASBPE’s national president back in the early part of the decade, some the most common calls I’d receive would be right after the annual awards competition. Editors and designers would ask if we could share the judges’ comments on their nonwinning entries. I always felt bad telling them no. The truth was that it was hard enough to have the judges forward us commentary on the winning entries. Adding 2,000+ losing entries to their proverbial plates would have caused most or all of our judges to tell us to pound sand.

In my experience with the Tabbie awards since 2004, I’ve found that the same question still comes up. And it’s a valid one. If a magazine isn’t producing award-winning material, how does the staff — especially on smaller publications — figure out the best way to turn things around?

This led to the idea for TABPI’s Magazine Critique Service, which began in 2006. ASBPE has partnered in the MCS for the past two years. The MCS allows editors to get feedback from some of the most respected editors working in b2b journalism today, and benefit from their colleague-to-colleague analysis of what’s working and what can be improved.

The MCS provides objective, outside analyses that can show the decision makers in an organization how to take content to the next level. Magazines participating in the MCS will have three reviewers give detailed feedback on specific editorial and design aspects of the publication. TABPI and ASBPE will provide a report to the editor, who can thoroughly review the results with the editorial and design staff.

The service is a good investment for magazines desiring a revamp or a refresh after years in the industry. Magazines get to ride on the experts’ learning and minimize costly trial and error situations. More dynamic editorial and design can equate to more credibility with readers and advertisers, who will recognize the publication as the voice for the industry it covers.

All submissions for the MCS must be received on or about Oct. 1. The average processing time will be eight to 10 weeks from the time materials are received. Complete details on the program, along with a submission form and two sample critiques, are available on the TABPI website, at as well as at the ASBPE website.

Paul J. Heney is editorial director for Questex Media’s Hotel Group, which includes Hotel & Motel Management, Hotel Design, and Luxury Hotelier. A member of the ASBPE Cleveland Chapter board, Heney served as national president of ASPBE from 1999-2003. He is also president of TABPI, an international b2b think tank that promotes b2b journalism and professionalism.

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