The revised Canadian Magazine Industry Advertising-Editorial Guidelines have now been released and will be discussed in a podcast by the co-chair of the task force that revised them, Patrick Walsh, the editor of Outdoor Canada.
This is the latest revision of the guidelines that are intended to help editors, publishers and advertisers maintain a standard for distinguishing between editorial and advertising content. [Disclosure: I was a member of the task force.] Magazines that wish to become members of Magazines Canada are expected to observe the spirit and the letter of the guidelines.
While they are only guidelines, the intention is to provide clarity in a marketplace where advertisers are, understandably, pushing for more opportunities, ranging from product placement and advertorials to mentions on covers. There is also the thorny issue of editorial staff being involved in the design and even the presentation of advertising.
Editors are faced every day with challenges to the editorial integrity they believe is the lynchpin of success in this business -- giving access to readers in an editorial environment they trust. When there is no clear demarcation between paid hustle and editorial content, readers might be forgiven for wondering what they can believe.
New this time around is a more clear statement about editorial staff involvement in custom publishing by their own companies, advertisers or third parties, particularly in subject areas for which they are responsible.
The podcast during which Walsh will walk participants through the guidelines and show examples of what falls within and outside of them, is at 2 p.m. on Thursday October 14. Registration is free, but space is limited so it is wise to reserve a spot today (staff groups are welcome).