IPSO Blog: Listening to the voices of the regulated makes regulation more effective

Head of Standards Charlotte Urwin on the first meeting of the newly appointed Journalists' Advisory Panel, and how they, alongside the Readers' Advisory Panel, will support IPSO's work on press standards.

IPSO’s regulation extends from online only local newspapers, to big national newspapers; and from business to business magazines to lifestyle monthly glossies.

We have strong relations with many editors, but we also want to hear the voices of journalists working below them.

To address this gap, IPSO set up a Journalists’ Advisory Panel. The panel will feed back their experiences and will also provide comment to IPSO on any issues on which it consults, including the annual review of the Editors’ Code and any guidance. They met last week for the first time.

I’m delighted that the panel reflects both the diversity of publications regulated by IPSO and differing levels of responsibility below the level of editor.

The seven panelists are Aasma Day (Investigative Reporter and Lifestyle Editor, Lancashire Evening Post); Chris Burn (Features Writer, Yorkshire Post); Dan Townend (News Editor, Daily Express); David Butcher (Deputy TV Editor, Radio Times); Jennifer McKiernan (Political Reporter, Aberdeen Evening Express) Michelle Hather (Deputy Editor, Good Housekeeping); and Lydia Willgress (Reporter, The Daily Telegraph).

I’ve heard that journalists are not always comfortable talking about journalism. The opposite is true of our panel!

By the time we had finished we covered disparate topics from their awareness of IPSO and how the Editors’ Code of Practice relates to their day to day work; to training on the Code; the need to provide sufficient editorial support.

Topics for future meetings include discussing the influences on newsroom culture; how IPSO can better communicate its work to journalists; and the key issues to consider when using information taken from social media. Certainly there will be plenty to keep both the panel and myself busy for the coming months!

Regulation is more effective when regulators can hear the voice of the regulated, as well as the voice of the public. The Journalists’ Advisory Panel, working with the Readers’ Advisory Panel will both make a significant contribution to our work to raise press standards.