How to Build Internet Presence and Boost Print Products

Rick Babson, online business editor for the Kansas City Star and other panelists at a recent Kansas City ASBPE chapter event offered several specific suggestions for building Web content that will draw attention to your existing print publications.

Here is one of the ideas: Offer digital replicas of your print publications. "Weekly magazines are victims of the post office," one panelist said, adding that international readers will appreciate receiving the digital version in a timely manner. Plus, you can track how it is read. Find a vendor that helps with digital replicas.

Read all of the suggestions on KC ASBPE's Blog.

Call for Judges: 2007 Azbees

Aug. 31 is deadline to apply to be a judge.

Want the inside scoop on how to win an Azbee Award? Be a judge.

ASBPE is looking for people who are interested in judging the 28th annual Azbees. We’re seeking qualified judges in all categories—editorial, design, web, and newsletter.

Click HERE for the criteria that judges must meet.

Click HERE for the form that you must fill out and send ASBPE.

Trade journalists as investigative reporters?

Book examines major government and industry changes driven by tough reporting in the business-to-business and association press

John Gannon in 2001 was just getting familiar with his new beat covering the chemical industry when he stumbled on an alarming fact: one-third of the first six chemical accidents investigated by a little-known federal body, the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, involved faulty chemical data sheets. Chemical manufacturers are required by law to fill out these sheets—instructions on how to handle industrial chemicals safely—but the Board’s findings suggested the federal government was exercising little oversight over how the companies complied with the law. The results were headline-making accidents like the explosion at the Morton International plant in Paterson, N.J., in 1998 and the 2001 Bethlehem Steel Mill fire in Chesterson, Ind. Intrigued, Gannon dug into the matter and wrote about his findings in a hard-hitting piece in the Daily Report for Executives, published by the Washington, D.C.-based Bureau of National Affairs. The piece caught the eye of a leading national industrial safety advocate and, within months, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had developed a plan for improving the accuracy of the sheets.

“By rolling up his sleeves and pushing OSHA for answers to his questions, Gannon demonstrated how effective the business-to-business press can be in driving concrete change in government and industry,” says Robert Freedman, co-editor of a book on business-to-business journalism released in June that details stories like Gannon’s. Freedman is immediate past president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a professional association of trade journalists.

Journalism That Matters: How Business-to-Business Editors Change the Industries They Cover (Marion Street Press, Oak Park, Ill.: ISBN: 1933338083) looks at 17 stories of change-making journalism by trade and association publication editors. Among them:

* How the U.S. Department of Defense came clean on weaknesses in its computer network after a report by Federal Computer Week.

* How federal agencies stepped up their verification of job applicants after Government Computer News uncovered egregious resume padding by a top U.S. Department of Homeland Security IT official.

* How London-based Legal Business shook up the tradition-bound U.K. judicial system by exposing broad discontent among lawyers with one of the country’s most important courts.

“We selected stories from a wide range of business-to-business and association publications to showcase the power of trade journalism,” says Steven Roll, co-editor of the book and president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of ASBPE. “We include pieces from traditional trade magazines and tabloids, newsletters, association publications, peer-reviewed association journals, and publications that sit in the nexus between trade and the consumer publications, like PC World.”

The book is designed as a compilation of best practices for professional editors, but it’s also a window into the world of business reporting for journalism students. “It may wake up some journalism professors to inspire young students to join the trade press,” Don Ranly, professor emeritus, Missouri School of Journalism, says in the book’s foreword.

The book is set to make waves. Its case studies are by editors who are members of, or have had their work recognized by, ASBPE, which in early 2005 spearheaded a panel discussion with the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of National Association Publications at the National Press Club to look at the ways interest groups blur the lines between advocacy and journalism. The panel, which was broadcast on C-SPAN-2, took aim at the inadequate disclosure of publication ownership by some interest groups.

Some of the book case studies are also by editors who have had their work recognized by Trade Association and Business Publications International, which hosts an international awards program for trade journalists.

“We’re showing that trade journalism is journalism that matters,” says Freedman. “Trade editors are changing the face of the industries they cover by running stories that shake up the status quo and lead to innovation.”

“The book also shows the dynamic role trade publications play as the forums through which industry leaders debate issues and drive change,” says Roll. “The book makes clear that editors who know how to shape these forums create an environment that attracts the kind of issue exploration that leads to change.”

The book is currently available for sale at: