In order to maintain credibility, trade publications should offer news about products or companies without advocating one company or product over the other.
Trade publications on the whole present several interesting and re-occurring challenges, from a publisher’s point of view.
Essentially, as a communication link between those that use it, a trade publication must be able to offer a tough combination of publicity pieces (such as those in the Product Spotlight section) and articles that attempt to offer insight into the use of and the drawbacks presented by these same products.
That fine line can be a tough one, and often tricky: There are times when it becomes blurred to the point where distinctions must be made, and guidelines offered. We are at one such point.
In our minds, the role of the magazine is not to endorse product or company, but to offer news of both. To advocate one company over another, or one product, jeopardizes the credibility and the respect the publication survives on.
I’m speaking in generalities…here is a specific case and point.
At most shows we have attended, where competitions have been featured, often the first question asked of the winner is “Whose product are you using?”; a valid question, but one that stirs both positive and negative reactions.
The manicurist that has just been recognized for her talent is justifiably proud…and often the supplier of the “winning” product is equally happy, willing to pursue the public relation possibilities of promoting a product line that is used by competition winners.
This then is where the fine line becomes fuzzy. Does the magazine allow, within their editorial coverage of a competition winner, mention of product? Other manicurists would be curious to know, and the supplier has a right to take advantage of the newsworthy event. Or does he/she?
After considering all sides of the question, the answer is no.
The awards are given for talent and hard work…and is in recognition of that individual’s capability and experience. Product, we agree, does play a significant role; however, as the art of sculptured nails is particularly a matter of personal style, it would be difficult and unfair to credit the product for the success.
Consequently, in the interest of fairness, this fuzzy line between reporting the facts and implied endorsement will be handled thusly: profiles of salon owners and manicurists, an important ingredient in the editorial package of Nails Magazine, will continue, but without mention of a particular product used. Winners of competitions will also be given the coverage they justly deserve…but it will be for personal style, professionalism, experience and achievement.
We welcome your comments.