Wednesday 22 September 2010

PCC rejects NUJ complaint about Johnston Press

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a claim by the NUJ that Johnston Press was forcing journalists to compromise editorial standards and putting accuracy at risk by new rules governing the Atex editorial content management system.

The minutes of the PCC meeting held in July (above), released today, say that Commissioners discussed correspondence with the NUJ about Johnston but agreed that "no further steps were appropriate at this stage, Johnston Press having affirmed its commitment to the PCC - a commitment it said was unchanged by the latest technological developments."

The NUJ wrote to the PCC last June claiming that senior journalists in Johnston Press were being ordered to compromise editorial standards and put accuracy at risk. The complaint involved new rules governing the operation of the Atex editorial content management system.

The letter followed a "workflow memo" from Paul Bentham, managing director of the group's South Yorkshire titles, to editors and senior journalists, setting out new rules following the introduction of the Atex system.

According to the union, the rules removed a number of checks for accuracy and seriously undermined the role of the editor, removing their final responsibility for the content of the paper.

The memo claimed editors "should not however continue with the old practise (sic) of reading every story. Editors should evaluate the risk for each story based on content and the seniority of the journalist and act accordingly."

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