Children's advocacy groups sharply reprimanded Scholastic last week for distributing to schools a poster on energy sources sponsored by the American Coal Foundation. An editorial in the New York Times criticized the poster for "giving a one-sided view of coal usage." Friday, Scholastic released a statement acknowledging "that the mere fact of sponsorship may call into question the authenticity of the information, and therefore conclude that we were not vigilant enough as to the effect of sponsorship in this instance." The statement also says Scholastic will not distribute the poster any more and plans to reevaluate its editorial procedures concerning sponsored content. Read Scholastic's complete statement below.
STATEMENT FROM SCHOLASTIC:
Scholastic's children's books, magazines, reading programs and website content are used in most American classrooms – a responsibility and trust that we built through painstaking work through 90 years of service to teachers and schools. A tiny percentage of this material is produced with sponsors, including government agencies, non-profit associations and some corporations. This week, Scholastic came under criticism for an 11" x 16" poster map which displays different sources of energy – coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind and natural gas – not so much for the content of the poster but primarily its sponsorship by the American Coal Foundation. We acknowledge that the mere fact of sponsorship may call into question the authenticity of the information, and therefore conclude that we were not vigilant enough as to the effect of sponsorship in this instance. We have no plans to further distribute this particular program. Because we have always been guided by our belief that we can do better, we are undertaking a thorough review of our policy and editorial procedures on sponsored content, and we will publish only those materials which are worthy of our reputation as "the most trusted name in learning."