By Howard Rauch, ASBPE Ethics Committee Chairman
Is your editorial ethics house in order? A new self-scoring profile suggests loopholes that may need closing. Distributed during a presentation at ASBPE’s digital “Boot Camp” held July 18 in New York, the profile consists of ten statements that invite either a “Yes” or “No” response. Most of the situations posed have come under review by ASBPE’s Ethics Committee and/or been discussed at recent editorial ethics workshops.
EDITORIAL ETHICS SELF-SCORING PROFILE: PIONEER VERSION
- We have a written ethics policy describing advertiser relationships. ___
- Our editorial ethics policies are posted on our Web site. ___
- Articles based on original research accurately describe methodology and level of response. We will not publish information based on inadequate return. ___
- When interviewing editorial recruits, we present an honest picture of personal and financial growth. ___
- When our publication participates in advertorials, content must meet editorial standards for accuracy even though pages are clearly marked as purchased space. ___
- We don’t take bylines on articles that are merely rewrites of press announcements. ___
- We have policy guidelines for all contributing editors in which we caution them that submissions must be plagiarism-free. ___
- In all sponsored webinars, the publisher–not the editor – fills moderator role. This is especially critical if the moderator is expected to deliver commercials. ___
- If we sponsor product excellence awards, advertisers and non-advertisers have an equal chance of being selected as finalists. ___
- We have a written checklist covering key elements of article accuracy. ___
The above list is identified as a “pioneer version” because I expect to revise it based on input from the membership. In theory, all the above matters would be covered as part of your company’s written policy . . . if you have one. In the event you would like help formulating a policy or revising existing documents, ASBPE’s Ethics Committee is studying the possibility of offering that service. For information on our current ethics advisories, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.