Pressure to bend the rules surrounds us. In the healthcare industry, that pressure has gotten to more than a few executives, as recent financial scandals can attest. Publishing is no different. When I became editor two years ago next month, we implemented a Code of Ethics for our editorial staff to ensure that the magazine's long history of credibility would continue. The policy was for internal use only. But with the lines blurring all around us between editorial and advertising content, we thought it best to tell our readers exactly where we stand. The code can also be found under the About Us section of modernhealthcare.com.
Modern Healthcare's Editorial Code of Ethics
The mission of Modern Healthcare, both in print and electronically, is to provide readers with essential healthcare business news and information that helps them successfully manage their organizations. To ensure the credibility of that news and information, members of the magazine's editorial staff adhere to the following editorial Code of Ethics:
Advertorials. All advertorials will be clearly labeled as a "Special Advertising Section" or "Special Advertising Supplement." The labels will appear on each page of the section or supplement. All advertorials will be distinct in design so readers don't confuse them with editorial content.
Favors, food, gifts and trips. Editorial staff members will not accept favors, food or gifts from sources or potential sources unless they are unsolicited and of nominal value. Editorial staff members will not accept free trips from sources or potential sources.
Freelancing. With permission from senior editors, editorial staff members may work for other publications as long as the other publications do not compete with Modern Healthcare or another publication published by Modern Healthcare's parent company, Crain Communications; the work is done on the staff member's own time; and the work is not commissioned by an organization or company covered by the magazine.
Conflicts. Editorial staff members, including family members, should avoid conflicts of interest, such as investments in or family members working for organizations or companies covered by the magazine. Editorial staff members must disclose such conflicts to senior editors for resolution and possible disclosure to readers.
Speaking engagements. No member of the editorial staff may accept a fee or honorarium for any form of speaking engagement, including speeches, panel discussions or hosting an event. The prohibition applies to speaking engagements performed during the workweek as well as those completed after hours or on weekends or holidays. Unsolicited gifts of appreciation and of nominal value may be accepted for speaking engagements. At the discretion of senior editors, reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred by the magazine or the editorial staff member in connection with a speaking engage- ment may be accepted. Those expenses include food, lodging and travel.
Plagiarism. Plagiarism is prohibited. Information used from other sources will be appropriately attributed.
Sponsored editorial content. One or more advertisers may sponsor editorial content as long as the editorial staff controls the content. Sponsors will have no control over the editorial content. The names and/or logos of sponsors will not appear on the cover of such editorially controlled content. Sponsors may receive an acknowledgment, including logos, on the first available inside editorial page of an editorially controlled special section or supplement.
What do you think? Write us with your comments. Via e-mail, it's [email protected]; by fax, dial 312-280-3183.