Often initiated by support associations for a specific title, these meetings enable direct exchanges between the public and journalists. They are usually centred round a particular theme and are concerned with supporting a particular editorial position, rather than examining how the news is produced.
Newspapers can also invite their readers via panels to suggest topics for articles or to comment on articles that are already printed.
Marketing and commercial departments also use qualitative research on samples of the population. This is carried out from time to time in preparation for a change in formula or, more commonly, to solicit comments on the newspaper content.
De Standaard : During visits
Europe 1 : No
France 24 : Occasionally
Members of the editorial team may take part in debates when they are asked to.
If the channel broadcasts a debate, viewers can ask questions via a Facebook page.
Le Monde : On the initiative of the readers
The Association of Readers of Le Monde organises meetings with journalists but this concerns only a small number.
Ouest France : These are decentralised with no organisational policy.
The newspaper still does not have a centralised point for criticisms or complaints coming from readers of the whole region.
We occasionally organise open days in decentralised editorial areas (photographic exhibitions, etc.). A conference room in the editorial offices in Rennes can house meetings based on a theme, but all initiatives are organised locally and there is no global policy on the subject.
François-Régis Hutin, or his daughter, intervenes regularly in front of targeted audiences when requested to do so.
Since 1968, we have four sociologists working on research and development. In the end they are the ones who organise most of the direct or indirect exchanges between readers and editorial.
There is no change in formula without a preliminary study of the readership, and the management follows closely any changes for the newspaper or for an individual section.
The idea is to prioritise examining the newspaper’s relationship with its readers in the context of its public service mission, rather than short-term marketing.
The relationships between journalists, readers and research therefore help to stimulate thinking about the editorial line to take and the practical arrangements to make, without resorting to the diktat: “the reader doesn’t want it so let’s abolish it”.
Berliner Zeitung : Debates at the newspaper offices
Berliner Zeitung organises public debates at its premises on political or social subjects which are attended by journalists.
ZDF : No, only interactive programmes
The Irish Times : Once a year
Meetings between The Irish Times readers and editorial staff are rare except at the annual Open Day and tend to be more to visit the premises than to hold real exchanges.
Polskie Radio, kanal 3 : During media visits