Resolution Statement 09244-19 TransPennine Express v Hull Daily Mail
Summary of complaint
1. TransPennine Express complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Hull Daily Mail breached Clause1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined "Calls to reinstate direct trains from Hull to Manchester Airport" published on 23 November 2019.
2. The article was also published under the same headline and in much the same format online on Hull Live.
3. The article reported on a council debate, during which rail links between Hull and Manchester were discussed. It reported that a councillor "said Hull’s position at the end of the line was reflected in the current remote management of Paragon Station with operator TransPennine Express employing someone in Huddersfield to carry out the role". The article featured a direct quote from the councillor, who said: “The last two station managers in Hull were not only based here but one had been a train driver and the other had worked on trains. Now we have the ridiculous situation of the current manager representing the station while working in Huddersfield”.
4. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate. It said that Hull station is not managed remotely and specifying that two of the current manager's predecessors had worked on the railways implied that he had not, which was not the case. The complainant said that it was not contacted for comment prior to the article's publication.
5. The publication said that the alleged inaccuracies were taken from comments made by the councillor at the debate, which the article had reported accurately.
Relevant Code Provisions
6. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
7. The complaint was not resolved during the referral period. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
8. During IPSO's investigation, the publication agreed to publish a statement from the complainant with the online article, in the following terms:
A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: “We are extremely disappointed that the Hull Daily Mail chose to print the false accusations made in a council meeting about the management of Hull station without contacting TransPennine Express to confirm whether or not they were true. This has led to undue criticism of TransPennine Express and our Group Station Manager for Humberside on social media and within the station itself."
"Our Group Station Manager for Humberside is an experienced railway professional with several years’ experience in leading teams and Hull station is certainly not remotely managed from Huddersfield.“
9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to its satisfaction.
Date complaint received: 29/11/2019
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 03/03/2020
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