Roopinder Tara sometimes dredges up the topic no magazine editor wants to deal with -- the state of the link between CAD vendors and writing about their products. Unlike our parents' generation, where "it" was never talked about, our generation doesn't blush at going topless.
I've asked Roopinder to make clear (again) how magazines work: there is an editor and a publisher, and the office is split down the middle between them:
Editor -- in charge of authors and their writing.
Publisher -- in charge of getting ads and subscriptions to pay for the editorial.
(The equivalent in the movie world is the director and the producer; director is in charge of the actors and their acting, the producer is in charge of the costs and the production details.)
In this pre-StarTrek world, you can see the conflict immediately: editors consume $$$,while publishers have to produce the $$$. And so publishers lean (as much as they can) on editors to make it easier to get in $$$ -- while good editors resist (as much as they can) the pressure, whether explicit or implied.
When the pressure goes to far one way or the other, then the owner shuts down the magazine (not enough $$$) or the editor leaves/gets fired. Been there, done that.
upFront.eZine is different, because the editor and publisher are one and the same. One way I reconcile my two roles is that I don't bug companies for ads; every ad that appears in upFront.eZine is the result of the advertiser approaching me. (One exception: if the vendor has been featured in an interview, then afterwards I suggest that they could support the publication by buying a reprint or placing an ad. Some do; most don't.)
Then there's the issue of live coverage of events. Most vendors now routinely pay for airfare, hotel, some meals, and sometimes other costs for journalists attending their events. That subsidy allows me to attend many more events than I'd otherwise be able to afford. To make it clearer that subsidies exist, I've added a new [Disclosure:] line that lists the items, as in my report on visiting SolidWorks and Bill Fane's report on attending the Inventor event.
In the end, I don't think most readers care. They want to be informed and entertained. They don't care to know the details of how Survivor (or sausage or a magazine) is really produced.