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Condé Nast May Not Be Eligible to Receive National Magazine Awards Anymore

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WWD's Alexandra Steigrad reports that the American Society of Magazine Editors is rethinking its guidelines on native advertising now that Condé Nast and other major publishing houses have publicly confirmed that editors will be writing ad content for their brands. As it stands, ASME's rule on native advertising states: "Editorial contributors should not participate in the creation of advertising if their work would appear to be an endorsement by the magazine of the advertised product." In light of recent developments, ASME CEO Sid Holt explained to WWD that the old rule is outdated and it's being updated to reflect that "the primary role of the editor is to serve the reader."

While the official new guidelines won't be unveiled until May, anonymous sources told WWD that there is much debate over how ASME should address journalists who are now being directed to write ad copy, especially in the case of Condé Nast. "If it holds firm, then Condé pubs would not be eligible for National Magazine awards," Steigrad explains. It's "a thought that seems implausible to many, which is why, one source said, the new principles will be 'up for interpretation.'"

Steigrad points out that while the magazine industry grapples with how to handle native advertising, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Financial Times have already drawn hard lines separating the edit and advertising staffers. "For the foreseeable future, I don't see us doing it," a Financial Times executive told Steigrad. "I think it has to do with our journalistic integrity."