IPSO Blog: Monitoring press standards - Annual Statements

Head of Standards Charlotte Urwin on how IPSO uses Annual Statements from member publishers to monitor press standards - and what makes a good one...

The start of the year brings with it plans for self-reinvention, exploration – or for some individuals working at the publishers we regulate, the need to produce an annual statement for IPSO!

We wrote to all our member publishers last month asking them to submit their annual statements by Friday 17 March. These statements will cover the period 1 January to 31 December 2016.

What is an annual statement?

Annual statements represent one way in which IPSO can acquire the information necessary to act as an effective independent regulator and contribute to IPSO’s work to monitor press standards.

They are a very public statement, in a publisher’s own words, of the steps they take to meet journalistic standards and what they do when they don’t meet those standards.

The statements include information about how publishers approach editorial standards; complaints-handling processes; training processes and their record on compliance, including details of what they have done in relation to complaints upheld by our Complaints Committee.

What does a good statement look like?

All of the statements published on our website meet the required standards but with considerable variety about how they do so.

This uniqueness is important because each of the publishers we regulate is different. There is no ‘one way’ of producing a statement or meeting the requirements.

Some publisher’s statements speak strongly about how they learn from adverse adjudications issued by IPSO, for example both Associated Newspapers and Telegraph Media Group give seminars to journalists about upheld adjudications. Other publishers, such as CN Group talk in detail about their approach to training of staff.

Some statements show a unique editorial voice, as the editorial on court reporting included in The Chronicle Series annual statement shows;  a number give good insight into editorial decision making, such as the procedures Independent News and Media (Northern Ireland) follow to verify their stories.

What all good statements have in common is a strong commitment to editorial standards.

 We’ve already received over a dozen statements from publishers we regulate for the most recent period. I know that other publishers are currently beavering away at their statement.

As always, the Standards team remains available to answer any questions that publishers or the public might have about the annual statements. You can reach us via annualstatement@ipso.co.uk or 0300 123 2220.