Transparency and Trust22 Jun, 2014 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin
Editor's Window: All content can have value, whether independent or sponsored, but it must be produced with integrity.
I've had the pleasure of working with Nancy Spurling Johnson on Cadalyst for several years now, and during that time I've learned a great deal about what it means to be "devoted" to an audience, as she phrased it in her last editorial.
As Cadalyst's editor in chief, Nancy was responsible for meeting a mountain of deadlines and demands. She always took the time, however, to consider how each decision would affect our readers. Ideas that seemed brilliant from a budgetary or strategic standpoint were sometimes revealed to be duds when viewed from a reader's perspective.
I particularly admired Nancy's commitment to maintaining the distinction between editorial and marketing initiatives. That dedication to autonomous coverage of CAD technologies will continue to guide both of us in our new positions: Nancy was recently named content director for Longitude Media, the parent company of Cadalyst, and I have taken over as editor in chief.
To explain, Cadalyst produces two kinds of resources for our audience. The first is editorial content, which is planned and produced by our team of editors and contributing editors, independently of influence from industry vendors. The second is vendor-sponsored custom content, which has become more popular as the advertising landscape has evolved in the Internet era. Marketers have cut back traditional advertising in favor of using whitepapers, infographics, and other forms of custom content to attract new business and serve existing customers.
Both kinds of content have value for our readers — but only as long as they are developed to high standards and remain distinct from one another. By keeping editorial coverage independent, we ensure that the primary influence on our editorial decision making is our readers' needs. We don't allow vendors to purchase Cadalyst Labs Reviews, for example, because that would create a conflict of interest between the product developer and our readers. (Note that industry event organizers often pay for a portion of editors' travel expenses, which is the only way that we can cover the number of events that we do, but this does not "buy" those companies any special consideration in return.)
On the custom content side, vendor sponsorship dramatically extends the range of resources that we can bring you, funding contests, webinars, and whitepapers that we wouldn't be able to produce otherwise.
At Cadalyst, our editorial coverage is not for sale, and sponsored content is always clearly identified as such. And regardless of whether it's sponsored or independent, we seek to make everything we produce useful to our readers — helping you to understand the challenges and trends in your industry, work more efficiently, improve your standing in the workplace, and make better-educated technology choices.
This corporate culture wouldn't be sustainable without a publisher who respects readers and their needs. Seth Nichols, publisher of Cadalyst and CEO of Longitude Media, steadfastly believes in the importance of high-quality content. Cadalyst has been serving the CAD community for 30 years, and that wouldn't be possible without the trust and loyalty of our readers. Seth understands that the only way we can remain a trusted resource is by producing useful, reliable information.
So that's what we'll continue to do, with both our editorial and our custom initiatives — we'll bring you worthwhile resources to help you "get productive with CAD and get the job done."