Lewis Lazare, a columnist at The Chicago Sun-Times described the New Yorker decision last month to publish an entire issue sponsored by one national retail chain, Target, as “the most jaw-dropping collapse of the so-called sacred wall between editorial and advertising in modern magazine history.”
The August 22 issue had 18 pages of Target ads
He and other critics aren't impressed by the rather flaccid response from the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), whose guidelines for the separation of advertising and editorial are considered the gold (or at least gold-plated) standard for the industry. (The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors (CSME) modelled its own guidelines on ASME's.)
ASME noted mildly that its guidelines require a single-sponsored magazine to include a note telling readers that this didn't influence the editorial in any way. The board of ASME issued a statement:
“Our guidelines do call for a publisher’s note to readers in single-advertiser issues, and The New Yorker has agreed to include such a note when and if they do this again.”ASME's ultimate sanction could be to deny the New Yorker eligibility to enter the National Magazine Awards (the "Ellies", named after the Alexander Calder sculpture of an elephant that is given out). But since the New Yorker was contrite, apparently, the board said it wasn't considered necessary.