folder icon list icon new list icon new folder Save to list notifaction icon yes tick yes tick yes tick with circle delete cross delete cross minus small - for download tool delete cross plus sign - small expander search magnifying glass icon for gettign to print page icon for email addresses icon for features timing icon for features timing LinkedIn icon Facebook icon youtube icon twitter icon google+ icon external link icon fo profile pages mail icon small mail icon for contact listings phone icon phone icon for listings twitter bird save icon export icon delete icon duplicate icon move to a diff folder mini search icon right arrow
Skip navigation
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser.

The scourge of copy approval

It came to my attention yesterday that a business-to-business (B2B) magazine had agreed copy approval with a senior company director about whom it was to publish a profile piece.

Copy approval – where the text of an article is shown to a subject or interviewee so as to allow them to make changes – is fundamentally wrong for any media outlet which claims to be independent.

I know that copy approval is not uncommon in consumer media (for example copy approval is often granted to celebrities by glossy magazines) and undoubtedly it happens along with other dodgy practices like covert paid-content, biased ‘by-lined’ articles and the like in the ‘lower end’ of the B2B media, but for a major professional title to cave into it shocked me.

It was only recently that media commentator Roy Greenslade wrote in his Guardian Blog: “B2B magazines are often in the forefront of breaking stories and the best of them are analytical and not afraid to campaign.” That clearly cannot be the case if B2B magazines hand over editorial control to corporates.

Looking at it from the perspective of a PR professional, copy approval might sound like a good thing – the opportunity to edit an article before publication has obvious attractions. But the way that it ultimately compromises the independence and authority of media outlets which engage in it means that it can never be a good thing. Insisting on copy approval can only weaken the media you are trying to influence.

Journalists should always check facts, and it is OK to run quotes past interviewees, but never full copy approval. Never.

Subscribe to the blog
Get weekly updates from the ResponseSource blog