ASME issues revised guidelines

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The much-anticipated revised guidelines from the American Society of Magazine Editors finally emerged from committee Oct. 17 at the American Magazine Conference. Despite a rapidly changing media marketplace, however, the biggest change was brevity; the new rules fit in a one-page pamphlet while the old ones filled a five-page booklet. Mark Whitaker, editor of Newsweek and president of ASME, compared that effort to trimming the Torah down into the Ten Commandments.

ASME gave a little to advertisers and the publishers who love them by grudgingly permitting sponsorships of one-time editorial features like special issues and inserts as long as they are clearly marked as advertising. The guidelines still ban sponsoring regular features. (Read the guidelines: QwikFIND aar03m)

The revisions set up a new test of ASME's influence. Inside TV has ignored ASME's prohibition of sponsored content since its debut this year. And in a panel on branded entertainment at the conference, Inside TV editor in chief Steve LeGrice reiterated his position that his magazine shouldn't be held to the guidelines. "Someone reading Newsweek is looking for something different than someone reading Inside TV," he said. In an interview a few days later, he added, "Our research shows that our readers view product integration as a natural and seamless value-added experience. While integrated advertising may not be the right vehicle for all magazines, for Inside TV, it is just one element of delivering a compelling product to our readers."

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