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August 12, 2005


Ira Pilchen

It's misleading, and an unfortunate slap, for Steve Ennen to criticize ASBPE for being "quiet" and "silent" in the face of recent ethics controversies. These characterizations make it sound as if ASBPE's inability to rapidly respond to these incidents was somehow premeditated.

Unlike the resources-rich ABM, which employes Ennen as a full-time media spokesperson, ASBPE has no substantive staff. Except for association management support and help from some great part-time consultants, we're all volunteers trying to do our day jobs.

The fact that ASBPE received positive media coverage from Folio for its decision to revamp its ethics guidelines is a cause to celebrate (as Paul Conley did in his blog), not a reason to carp on the shortcomings of a small organization.

Perhaps the real problem lies with our industry. I can't tell you how many editors I know whose publishers won't invest in their professional development by providing memberships in ASBPE, allowing them to promote publishing excellence through our annual competition, and sending them to our conferences and workshops.

Instead of throwing bombs at ASBPE, ABM should urge its members to support ASBPE by encouraging editors to join and learn from us. Perhaps then we would have a thriving organization that is able to rapidly respond to the issues Ennen raises.

Martha Spizziri


I second Ira's comments. But I also think it's a good thing when an organization is challenged to stretch itself, and your comments have done that. They've stimulated some discussion among the ASBPE officers about how we can support members faced with ethical dilemmas, advertising pressure, and the like.

Martha Spizziri
Vice President, Boston/New England Chapter, ASBPE

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