Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Best Practices Guide is still there,
awaiting adoption and use

A discussion about the relationships between editors, magazine and freelancers took place on Wednesday morning at the MagNet industry conference. The views expressed led me to believe that some of the people were unaware of the Best Practices Guide, a draft, collaborative industry document that talks about the obligations and expectations of editors, writers and publishers. 
So here are excerpts from the post from May 2012 about the creation of the guide which some of us hoped would be adopted as a sort of industry standard.
A collaboration between the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors and Magazines Canada led recently to the creation of a Best Practices Guide for the Canadian magazine industry. (A draft has been released and can now be downloaded here.) 
(I have a particular interest because it was my suggestion originally that we try to capture the various obligations and responsibilities that editors, publishers and freelance contributors have to each other and to the magazines for which they work.)

Part of the reason this document was thought to be a good idea was that there were widespread misunderstandings about what best practices were and how we should behave with and to each other, not least because of disagreements about contracts, rights, payments and working conditions.
 
The draft contains background on how the document was developed, so I won't go into that here, except to say that one of the steps was a comprehensive industry survey entitled Respect and Remuneration: attitudes about editorial working conditions in the Canadian magazine industry . 
Participants in the session at the MagNet industry conference called Yes, We Can All Just Get Along (WR2, Wednesday June 6, [2012] 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.) have already been sent a link to the draft, which may animate the discussion, and copies will be available to conference attendees at the registration desks for review and comment.

Eventually it is hoped that the guide will be adopted by the various industry associations in much the same way that the advertising-editorial guidelines were.
 
It's not intended to be a prescription or a rigid rulebook, but a set of agreed professional standards for most people, most of the time, in most circumstances. 
Comments about the draft can be made on this blog or can be sent to edickson[at]magazinescanada[dot]ca

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