Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
A journal of medicine should be as honest as a practitioner of medicine. To lend its pages to editorial comment upon paid advertisements is beneath that dignity and honorable course demanded by the Eclectic code of ethics. The writer has always been violently, almost viciously, opposed to "reading notices" and "interleaved advertisements." Therefore he is glad to reproduce this brief article on this shameless practice, for it voices not alone Professor Howe's dignified position as a journalist, but that of all editors who have at heart the best interests of the profession and the chastity of their journals. The Gleaner (new series) never would permit a "reading notice" in its pages, and the management has long since cut out all other advertising pages. So far as we are aware, the Gleaner is the only medical publication free from even the so-called legitimate forms of advertisement.—Ed. Gleaner.
EDITORIAL ADVERTISING.—It has become so common of late for editors to insert among their journalistic squibs the most unblushing commendations of all kinds of proprietary wares, that it is high time ethical rules were concocted to brand the unqualified license. It is to be hoped our "National" will take the lead in this matter, and that its members will not wait for action till the managers of the "American" have exercised their great influence on the question. Old School medical journals are as shameless as any on this kind of questionable advertising. It is stipulated to insert in the advertising department a page of matter for so much, and to give a brief editorial notice at stated intervals. In this way the reading pages of the magazine, which are subscribed and paid for, are prostituted for mercenary purposes.
If we are to punish with expulsion those members of the National who violate its code, let the instrument be made broad and strong enough to restrain the shameful liberties exercised by editors.
It is granting unreasonable latitude to journalism, that all kinds of stuff can be hired into the advertising pages of medical periodicals; but it is a custom of too long standing to be abrogated at once. A noxious novelty is the interleaving of circular matter— thus compelling the reader to gaze upon what he does not like to see. A journalistic manager who can be hired to thus deface and disgrace his issues should be made to feel the ignominy he forces upon his subscribers. He deserves to lose paying patrons.—HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1884