Donaton: Time for a new class of magazines?

Scott Donaton, Ad Age: “It could be time for the magazine industry to build a new wall to intersect the one separating editorial decisions from advertising considerations. This second wall would create a distinction between magazines whose primary purpose is to inform readers and those whose primary purpose is to entertain them. Each side could then operate by a standard of editorial integrity judged against the expectations of their respective audiences rather than those of journalistic watchdogs.
“…As the debate unfolds over what role, if any, there is for magazines in the branded-entertainment sphere, it may be unfair to hold all titles to standards demanded at the top journalistic tier.”
“Cathie Black was right to note that editorial guidelines issued by the American Society of Magazine Editors are “irrelevant” to Hearst’s forthcoming Shop Etc. That’s not a knock on ASME; its rules should remain tough, and news, business and other journalistic magazines should be judged by their adherence to them. But it does bolster the argument for building a new wall and a class of magazines judged not by an impossible standard but by readers’ expectations.”
On the money, Scott, as always.