CounterPoint

Editorial Integrity

Any publication that gains a position of leadership does so primarily because of its editorial integrity. Trade publications face a unique challenge in this regard, since a portion of their revenue comes from advertising. In cases in which the circulation is “controlled”—that is, free to qualified readers—all the revenue comes from advertisers.

With subscription magazines like JCK, readers pay to receive the publication. Either way, success hinges on serving the needs of the reader. Inevitably, there will be times when commercial pressures may come into conflict with that primary mission.

Over the years, JCK has achieved its deserved quality reputation because it serves the needs and interests of its readers. As a result, JCK has maintained lasting credibility within the jewelry industry.

That commitment to credibility, and the loyal readership that it brings, is a key reason that JCK is such an effective advertising vehicle for suppliers in the trade. Advertisers choose to promote their products in the pages of JCK for a variety of reasons. Some manufacturers realize that trade branding in a market in which consumer brands are few and far between is essential to establishing an image and reputation with the magazine’s readers. Trade branding is also practiced by consumer marketers. Selling the seller is just as important as selling the consumer.

From time to time, some advertisers will try to influence the editorial policy of the magazine by subtle or overt threats of discontinuing advertising if an editorial comment or a position taken by the magazine is not to their liking. That very situation arose recently when a JCK editor was criticized for reporting, accurately, comments that some manufacturers found unflattering. We may have ruffled some feathers, but the editors stand by the report. To do otherwise would be to compromise the magazine’s editorial integrity.

Trade publications as well as mainstream consumer journals have been increasingly subject to “politically correct” language and positions. In too many instances, calling them as you see them is no longer acceptable. Even in a society in which truth has become an increasingly malleable commodity, JCK’s editors remain committed to reporting the facts of the stories they cover.

Rushworth Kidder, who spoke on the topic of ethics at the recent Gemological Institute of America Symposium, quoted Lord Molten’s definition of ethics as “obedience to the unenforceable.” Kidder suggested that “as ethics decline, law steps in to require obedience to the enforceable.” Our Founding Fathers addressed the issue of freedom of the press in the First Amendment to the Constitution. What they may not have envisioned is the current-day efforts of those who wish to manipulate the news to serve their parochial interests.

JCK’s longstanding reputation for editorial quality and integrity remains the cornerstone of the magazine’s mission to be the best information-provider in the jewelry industry. The editors will continue to provide accurate, truthful, and balanced reporting on events affecting the industry, regardless of whether someone advertises or not. JCK is written first and foremost for the benefit of the readers, not as a public relations vehicle for manufacturers.