Dunno About Yours But ‘Avoid Stereotyping’ Is In Our Ethics Policy

By Jay Campbell

I’d be more vexed by this New York Magazine article if its readers didn’t offer a nice takedown of their own in the comments, but still it is worth sharing with B2B editors and reporters if only to highlight stereotypes about trade publications. After you take a peek, read further if you want my take.

I do understand someone holding a low opinion of specialist industry media since there are plenty of crappy outlets, but Kevin Roose is wrong to generalize as he does. It’s unfair to suggest that a writer publishing without giving the subjects of his piece a chance to comment exemplifies how trade publications are not in a position to produce “oppositional coverage.” Stating that trade pubs on balance challenge their industries less than mainstream media might be a fair point, but it has nothing to do with the lack of professionalism practiced by the writer in question.

The author also suggests that his readers not hold trade pubs “to the standards of traditional journalism.” What a snob! Again, a little nuance would go a long way. Use the word “some” when you are not all-knowing.

“In trade publications, readers don’t expect searing takedowns or accountability for powerful figures.” Um, some do.

“A trade publication cheering on the industry it covers isn’t a bad thing.” I think it is.

“Aggressive, adversarial journalism is simply not what trade publications are built for.” Agreed. But they’re built to inform a specialized audience and that doesn’t mean they are required to pander to it. Doing so would be insulting, in my view.

While I like reading PandoDaily, I too have questioned it. I’ve wondered how professional a media outlet it is meant to be. There’s a limit to how many typos I can stomach, I don’t trust most blogs to issue corrections when warranted and I’m not comfortable with Pando‘s funding by entities it covers. To me, all of that is more about the difference between blogs and traditional news outlets, but maybe that debate is old news.

Jessica Zemler posted yesterday about whether we should be called editors or content-something-or-others. Perhaps it’s our whole slice of the profession that needs rebranding.

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Jay Campbell


Jay Campbell is a journalist-entrepreneur, ASBPE’s blog chair and editorial director of The BTN Group at Northstar Travel Media. 

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