At most magazines, about half the pages are devoted to editorial material and half to
advertising. Visual clues separate the commercial from the editorial, allowing readers to
flip pages freely to read whatever they like. Revenue from the ads keeps subscription and
newsstand prices low and, in commercial ventures, provides the profit.
Advertising is also important to Sierra. Most of our editorial pages are financed by ad
revenue, enabling the Sierra Club to keep members well informed at minimal cost and to
spend more on other conservation work. Each page of advertising pays the manufacturing,
paper, and printing costs for itself plus a page of editorial. Some pages are paid for by
grants as well, enabling us to publish 60 percent editorial content.
We're more selective than most other magazines about which advertisements run in our
pages. In addition to rejecting cigarette ads (as many publications do) Sierra nixes ads
that directly conflict with Sierra Club policies. You won't see advertisements touting
Shell Oil (a company the Sierra Club is boycotting) or cars driving off-road in the
backcountry in our pages. We run most product ads submitted, but we hardly ever accept a
corporate image ad, because most of the latter come to us from polluting companies trying
to mislead the public about their environmental record. These ads run in other reputable
magazines, even environmental ones, but we take a small stand against greenwashing (and a
big hit to our budget) by refusing to accept them.
We hope that our ads have led you to useful products and services. When readers write
to protest one they don't like, we explain that the ads that make it through our screens
and onto our pages do not represent alliances or endorsements. They are business
arrangements, with no editorial strings attached.
Word has gotten around that Sierra takes bold stands on environmental issues.
Advertisers who don't like that aspect of our personality have long since left. Those who
remain are aiding our efforts to speak out, search for solutions, celebrate nature, and
encourage conservation in more than half a million households. We're grateful for their
Sierra author T. H. Watkins died of cancer in February. Editor of the
Wilderness Society's magazine for many years, Watkins also wrote more than 20 books about
U.S. history and the environment. Only last fall, he was making plans to write an article
for us on author Wallace Stegner. Crossing that item off our editorial calendar reminded
us just how much we'll miss Watkins' quiet environmental leadership, his fine writing, and