I believe transparency matters. It’s how the public gets to hold its institutions accountable, how we get a chance to really understand the inner workings of media. It serves the immediate interest of accountability and the longer term interest of history. There is a pact that is fulfilled with audiences when their media is open with them about who they are and how they operate – it lets readers make a choice, not just about who appeals to them in terms of content but also who appeals to their values as people.
We developed a series of questions which were aimed at a few different aspects of the genre media business – things like ad practices, revenues, contributor pay, policies, internship programs, workplace diversity – things that are going to help give us a snapshot of the state of the industry during the 2013 calendar year. Then we sent the ensuing 25 questions to several of the top North American genre media outlets, asking them to answer as many as they could in whatever way they saw fit and that they would be rated based on number of questions answered. 2 to 8 will earn a Bronze, 9 to 16 Silver and 17 plus was good for a Gold.
The aim is to build stories based on this data which will help readers and future academics alike have a better understanding of the state of the industry and then fully publish all of the questions and answers.
We chose to ask the following outlets to participate:
Famous Monsters of Filmland
Participants will receive a graphic for use in print and web certifying their ranking, the gratification of scoring higher than their competitors and the pride in helping pull back the curtain and let history in on how the sausage gets made. Non-participants get shamed like disobedient animals until they crumble before us.
Okay not really, but I encourage participation. This isn’t fishing for a “gotcha” moment – this is just about telling the story of the industry and I feel like that story is important, if only to a small and weird minority. I just want to tell that story.
The first part starts to get told next week as we reveal the first mag to participate in the survey and let you know how they ranked!