Eye on the Media: Is it just us, or does it appear that even the media -- the ones who used to be counted on for neutrality -- are selling out these days? At Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, the Sporting Goods Business (SGB) magazine displayed a full second cover that was nothing more than an advertisement for Woolrich. Granted, the mailed version of SGB sported its own cover, but what's up with selling out your brand even for trade show distribution? Which then brings us to Sports Edge, a trade pub owned and published by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). Sports Edge has fallen into the pattern of selling out its covers on a regular basis, the most recent being to Joy Athletic in August, on the heels of a Century Fitness cover in July. To sell your cover, your branding, your image piece, to the highest bidder, is bad enough, especially for trade media sources we would assume have aspirations of being trusted by their readers. But selling your brand position to an advertiser also has more dangerous implications: It is our opinion that any magazine that will sell its cover is dancing on the fringes of crossing that sacred boundary, the one separating editorial from advertising. The cover of a trade magazine is not about promoting one brand over another. It is about supporting the editorial integrity of a voice that the industry should have hopes of trusting. It is about establishing an overall image of the industry free from branding (other than the magazine's) that stands for something. It should be about inspiring, entertaining, or giving reason to think. To sell your cover, is, in our opinion, stating very clearly that the offending magazine values advertising above information, which is a very sad state of affairs indeed.