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Magazine industry asks members not to give advertisers early look

September 24, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The magazine industry, feeling pressure from advertisers who want to review stories before publication, is advising against providing early looks at tables of contents, photos or text.

In a joint statement, the Magazine Publishers of America and American Society of Magazine Editors said their members still may warn advertisers about potentially offensive material but should not threaten their credibility by offering advance copies of content.

``We are confident that editors and publishers can inform advertisers about a publication’s editorial environment or direction without engaging in practices that may at the very least create the appearance of censorship and ultimately could undermine editorial independence,″ said the statement, issued Tuesday.

The issue has been a hot topic within the industry since an April article in The Wall Street Journal about major advertisers demanding notice of controversial articles to have a chance to pull their ads, said MPA president Donald Kummerfeld.

``This is not a new subject, but the focus that it has received in the press and in discussions with editors and publishers ... induced us to feel that we ought to say something on it,″ Kummerfeld said.

Kathy Hyett, a spokeswoman for the Association of National Advertisers, said her group does not pressure magazines to review upcoming issues and agrees with the magazine industry’s statement.

“Our opinion is that editorial and advertising are separate,” said Hyett, whose group represents 200 advertisers including Chrysler, American Express and Anheuser-Busch.

Advertisers have been getting more aggressive in voicing their concerns about editorial content in recent years, said Martin S. Walker, chairman of magazine consulting firm Walker Communications in New York.

But he said major advertisers know they can’t pressure magazines into compromising their editorial stance without hurting themselves as well.

``The big companies understand that if a magazine doesn’t have editorial integrity and independence nobody’s going to buy it,″ Walker said.

MPA is a trade group representing companies that publish nearly 1,200 magazine titles. ASME includes more than 860 magazine editors.