This is a bigger deal inside the halls of Conde than out, but it points to a willingness to rethink the brand and for that we're thankful.
Conde Nast Traveler has changed its policies surrounding how writers and editors disclose their trips to travel providers, as well as pay for them, Skift has learned.
Since its founding in 1987, CN Traveler has pushed its “Truth in Travel” policy, of which a central tenet was that people contributing to its pages “pay the same prices you do and travel unannounced, except in rare cases where it’s impossible to do so,” according to the mission statement online.
Editors at the magazine recently informed contributors that they may request media rates from travel providers while writing stories for the magazine.
Representatives of the magazine did not respond to request for comment.
CN Traveler‘s competitor Travel + Leisure has a similar policy of not allowing its contributors to accept favors, as do some newspaper travel sections such as the New York Times. Other publications have policies that require disclosure when travel has been paid for or discounted, but some don’t disclose this at all.
While policies such as this may sometimes help reduce the number of stories based on free junkets or compromised relationships with travel providers, they don’t guarantee editorial independence or always lead to better stories. A recent feature about Colorado in demonstrated what a magazine sometimes chooses to do in order to please fashion advertisers.
The New CN Traveler
The change is indicative of how new Editor-in-Chief Pilar Guzman plans to shake up the magazine. Her work as EIC of the family magazine Cookie brought together home, fashion, parenting, and travel in a package that was more Lucky than Parenting. Its closure in 2009 following the 2008 recession is still bemoaned by magazine lovers.
After Cookie, Guzman started the parenting blog momfilter.com with Cookie‘s former travel editor Yolanda Edwards, before going on to edit Martha Stewart Living magazine. When Guzman came to CN Traveler in August, she brought Edwards on as the magazine’s Creative Director. Edwards has blogged about motherhood and travel for years on her own travels with clara blog.
Guzman has made multiple changes since arriving at the magazine, removing some staff and adding others. The first issue created entirely under her purview will be the March 2014 issue.
This change is the biggest signal that Guzman’s revamp of the magazine will be extensive.
“Truth in Travel” was essential to how former Editor-in-Chief Klara Glowczewska viewed the publication’s mission. She was known to openly disregard reader surveys that demonstrated a majority of the magazine’s readers didn’t think “truth in travel” was all that important.
The policy, while central to the magazine, was not set in stone. It was modified in 2011 when a relaunched CNTraveler.com turned to a mix of lower-paid freelancers to produce content for its Daily Traveler blog. The statement was amended with “Although some of the contributors to our Daily Traveler blog engage in work outside Condé Nast Traveler that does not always follow these rules, when writing for us they adhere to our standard and are transparent about any of their affiliations and sponsorships.”
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Photo credit: The "Truth in Travel" logo on the cover of Conde Nast Traveler. Skift