Magazine Denies Any Advertiser Editorial Influence

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NEW YORK ( -- The American Society of Magazine Editors has delivered a mild rap on the knuckles to The New Yorker for violating society guidelines when it published an issue sponsored by just one advertiser, Target Stores.
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Missing note
Those guidelines call for any magazine issue that is sponsored by a sole advertiser to include a note explaining that the advertiser did not influence the editorial content. The Aug. 22 issue of The New Yorker, which included 18 pages of Target ads, did not include such a note.

After a regularly scheduled board meeting this afternoon, the society issued a statement that said, “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.”

'Ellie' eligibility
But the society, usually known as ASME, also said it did not believe that Target influenced The New Yorker's editorial content. It added that the magazine remains eligible for the National Magazine Awards, which are sponsored by the society in association with the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University.

Perri Dorset, a spokeswoman at The New Yorker, declined to comment.

The tepid rebuke is unlikely to satisfy vocal critics like Lewis Lazare, a columnist at The Chicago Sun-Times who described the all-Target New Yorker last month as “the most jaw-dropping collapse of the so-called sacred wall between editorial and advertising in modern magazine history.”

In a column last week, Mr. Lazare called today’s ASME meeting and its action or inaction regarding the issue a potentially “defining moment” in its history.

Many editors and advertisers have disagreed, calling the issue as a masterstroke of magazine advertising that did not breach the boundary between ads and editorial.

Others have more or less shrugged, suggesting that the publishing industry faces bigger issues, like rising advertiser demands for a print version of product placement. ASME is still in the process of revising its guidelines to address such activities; its new guidelines are expected to be released at the American Magazine Conference next month.

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