Who checks that the style guide, code or charter is adhered to?
Sometimes this is senior editorial managers, sometimes ad hoc committees, and sometimes journalist/editor associations. Most of the time though, there is no formal checking procedure.
Generally, informal collective vigilance is assumed to be enough for these rules to be complied with, whether or not they had been accepted by management or journalists.
Externally, the equivalent of a press council – if this exists, as in Great Britain, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland etc – checks that the principles in the texts are adhered to, either because it received a complaint or on its own initiative.
Otherwise, the courts handle complaints relating to a breach of journalistic regulations directly, as well as of the law.
De Standaard : The hierarchical chain
Europe 1 : By the Management
A Wednesday afternoon arbitration meeting is held involving the heads of Programmes, News, Advertising and the Management.
France 24 : Informally
France 24 is an international channel showing continuous news, broadcasting 24/24 and 7/7 in 222 million homes on five continents in French, Arabic and English. The editorial office of France 24 in Paris provides a French view of the world and uses a network of hundreds of correspondents covering most of the globe.
The channel aims to exercise journalism that respects traditional methods and fundamental values – rigour, objectivity and independence in relation to powerful authorities, even financial.
The implementation of these methods and values, however, has not been formalised.
Le Monde : A formal procedure
The committees for personal ethics and professional standards monitor the application of these rules in the various publications and sites of the Group. They cannot comment on the content of an article or sanction journalists.
The committee dedicated to the daily newspaper is made up of two representatives from Le Monde’s Association of Editors (SRM), and one representative each from the Association of Senior Managers and Employees (SRMIA), Association of Editors from Le Monde Interactive and the Association of Readers of Le Monde. Also represented are the newspaper’s Director, Editorial head, two independent, qualified individuals nominated by the Monitoring Committee of the SEM, and a person nominated by the Association of Readers of Le Monde.
Ouest France : This is has not been formalised
Berliner Zeitung : An internal committee
The internal charter put in place a committee of three editors, « Redaktionsausschuss », who are elected by all editorial staff and have the task of monitoring the application of the charter.
ZDF : The television council
The internal body that monitors programmes is intended to represent German society in all its diversity. This television council is made up of 77 members and is charged with checking that the guidelines are adhered to. In practice, it issues warnings and reprimands and may go so far as to name the person in question on air.
This body is currently being restructured.
The Irish Times : By two bodies
Two distinct groups monitor adherence to the principles drawn up by the Irish Times Trust:
The members of the Trust’s board of directors meet every month to work on the newspaper content;
The journalist editorial committee is responsible for questions of professional standards and ethics.
Polskie Radio, kanal 3 : Internally and externally
Journalists’ work is reviewed both through internal procedures by an ethics committee and externally, according to political criteria.
BBC : By the hierarchy and also by the public
The values of the BBC are widely acclaimed and are under constant exposure. They are part of the ‘house culture’ and every journalist, editor or department head plays a part.
As a public audio-visual group and institution, the BBC is scrutinised by the British parliament and also by its own committee, as well as by its listeners and viewers, who monitor that it remains faithful to its original commitments and values.
The Guardian : The editors-in-chief
All journalists receive a copy of the professional standards code.
Editorial management has to check it is applied.