It seems every publisher has an ironclad policy when it comes to letting sources review stories pre-publication: either they forbid it, or they require it. These policies were set in stone some time around the Mesozoic era and any troublemaker who tries to alter them clearly does not understand A) journalistic integrity or B) the business objectives of the publication in question. In fact, these policies are taken so seriously, anyone who violates them faces grounds for immediate termination.
A post on UMagazinology, a blog about university magazines published by the editors of Johns Hopkins Magazine, tackled the subject of pre-publication review in a recent post (the bolding is mine):
“Why not? What’s the harm?
The harm, I think, is to our standing as professionals, and that is not a minor thing. University magazines produce the highest-quality work, and thus best exemplify and promote the excellence of their parent institutions, when they are allowed to approach the work as professional journalists. And it is part of journalistic professional practice to not show stories to sources before publication. No matter how strongly you stipulate that you are showing a piece to a source only for verification of accuracy, you are implicitly inviting everyone who reads the story to approve it, advise on how it should be written, and grant permission to publish it, and all those things undermine our standing as professionals. That in turn undermines our ability to argue for the freedom to publish substantive, credible stories that will be read because they matter and because our readers trust how they were produced. We don’t advise chemists, physicists, surgeons, literary scholars, historians, biologists, or mathematicians on how best to do their work. If we genuinely believe that what we do merits professional respect and an essential measure of autonomy, why do we so willingly accede to non-journalists telling us how to do our jobs?”
Yeah! Like they said!
Print-to-Web integration and the Advent of New Devices has Shaken Up Production. This coupled with the adoption of more user-friendly CMS systems and device driven publishing taxes most organizations on the production, project management and change management fronts.
“Publishers have got to do things that are richer, more dynamic and interactive, not just transfer a static page from print to digital.”
Steve Grande, VP of Sales for Fry Communications
This is exceedingly difficult when many publications originating as traditional print based pubs are now transitioning (see struggling) to move to digital. Excessive stakeholder reviews and print based project management/review processes are dinosaurs in today’s digital world —a world where news is immediate, influence is measured by trust and originality expands with devices and technology. Brands that want to be successful need to embrace speed and adopt the concept of being nimble, whether they inhabit 500sq ft or 50 floors. It’s not just about undermining an editor’s expertise or dragging out a project. It’s about the final outcome. It’s about your brand.