IPSO Blog: What can we learn from the 2016 annual statements?

The appearance of (hopefully) sunnier days also brings with it the publication of the annual statements submitted by our member publishers.

Reading and assessing the annual statements is one of my favourite responsibilities as Head of Standards and their production and publication is now a well-established part of the IPSO calendar.

The statements are a key requirement under the terms of publishers’ legally-binding contract with IPSO. They are all available on the IPSO website and as a body of work, clearly show the public how newspapers maintain and monitor editorial standards, how they respond to complaints, and the action they take to put things right when required.

IPSO’s membership

Of course you will find statements from the national newspapers that we regulate. But you will also find statements from the publishers of specialised titles such as The Commercial Greenhouse Grower, Veterinary Business, and The Recycler as well as magazines related to a specific area, such as Sussex Living. Many local newspapers are also covered, so whether you are in West Cornwall or the Orkney Islands, a publisher covering your area has submitted a statement.

Public statement on journalistic standards

But the statements don’t just demonstrate our diverse membership. They are also a 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 can we learn looking from this set of statements?

A clear development in this year’s statements is how publishers have taken learnings from reader’s complaints, upheld adjudications and resolved complaints and applied that to their training of staff with reference to press standards and the Editors’ Code of Practice.

I was particularly pleased with was the steps taken by many publishers to train editorial staff on the new version of the Editors’ Code issued in January 2016. If you want a multiple choice test on the new Code, look no further than the statements from Jersey Evening Post, The Guernsey Press and MNA!

What next?

The next priority for the Standards team is to look across these sets of standards and map out how publishers have changed their procedures and learnt from complaints since IPSO came into being.

We will publish information on this in the summer.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about this year’s statements or the process you can contact the Standards team on 0300 123 2220.