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AABP Code of Conduct

Members of the Alliance of Area Business Publishers are expected to maintain high business and journalistic standards that are befitting of publications recognized as the leaders in their field. In keeping with that goal, the Board of Directors of the association has adopted the following Code of Conduct for member publications. This Code of Conduct applies to the print and online publications of AABP members.

1. Publications should strive for accuracy, fairness and completeness in their editorial content.

2. Publications primarily should present business-to-business content representing substantial and significant original work. This content should reflect a heavy emphasis on local and regional business news and/or features..

3. Editorial content should be produced by editorial staffers and freelancers and should be under the control of the publication’s editing staff. Editorial content, including cover photographs and illustrations, should not be dictated or otherwise influenced by advertising or joint promotional efforts between a publication and an advertiser, sponsor or other outside organization. In particular, a story should never be promised in exchange for advertising or the receipt of in-kind products/services.

4. A clear distinction must be made between editorial content and advertising. All advertising that may be confused with independent editorial material must be labeled prominently as advertising, never “advertorial.” Editorial-like advertisements should be distinctly different from a publication’s editorial content in typeface, headline font, layout and design.

Recommended online practices:

1. Anything that is not produced by a publication’s editorial staff or on a for-hire basis must be clearly labeled.

2. Anything that is “for sale” needs to be labeled as a sponsorship or advertisement.

3. Any e-commerce relationship must be clearly identified so that Web site users know the publisher has an economic interest in any sales transactions that might result in a profit for the publisher.

4. Hotlinks within stories and lists must be at the discretion of editors and should not be based on pay-to-play relationships. An exception would be “enhanced” listings in features such as top lists where an advertiser would pay for a logo placement. However, those enhanced listings should be clearly marked as advertising.”

~ Adopted by the AABP Board of Directors, June 1, 2006.

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