“…where the interests of the insurance business and the public which it serves, after making every possible effort to harmonize those interests, conflict, The National Underwriter believes that the best interests in the insurance business are served by taking the stand of the public. In the final analysis, the insurance business can only be successful if it is conducted on the basis of the truest and best service of which it is capable to its clients and the public. This, I take it, is a fundamental principle and the one which has kept the National Underwriter from being a mere paid organ of special interests. Its policies are based on the broad foundation of good citizenship and the recognition that insurance, as well as all other business, exists primarily not for the men who are engaged in it, but for the people whom they serve.”
On Oct. 17, E.J. Wohlgemuth, founder of the National Underwriter back in 1897, was inducted posthumously into the Insurance Media Hall of Fame. I accepted the award on behalf of E.J. This is what I said:
I know that E.J. Wohlgemuth–wherever he is–would be proud of the legacy he’s left 110 years after founding National Underwriter. Back at the end of the 19th century, he set out to be the gold standard in insurance journalism–one imbued with the highest ideals and respect for the reader. Over a century later, National Underwriter is still the gold standard in the insurance trade press.
I have been with the magazine for 27 years and for all that time it has been a point of pride that we have never been in anyone’s pocket. Even as a rookie reporter I sensed that something was different about this publication. We’ve all heard journalistic horror stories about the trade press and those publications in it that sell their editorial pages. The fact is–and everyone knows this–you cannot buy editorial space in National Underwriter.
The worst thing a PR person can say to me is, “My client is a big advertiser in National Underwriter.” It shows me they are unfamiliar with the magazine and, indeed, are ignorant of the best practices in PR. This kind of remark tends to happen less often lately, so it may be that those PR people who have been on the receiving end of my bristling when they made such a remark have passed it along to confreres.