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Anorak | Reforming The Editor’s Code Committee With Anyone But Paul Dacre

Reforming The Editor’s Code Committee With Anyone But Paul Dacre

by | 21st, January 2010

HAVING delivered Five Suggestions For The Press Complaints Commission might it now be time for a tabloid editor to head the PCC and working hacks to run the show?

Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre is Chair of the Editor’s Code of Practice Committee. MacGuffin writes of five suggestions for reform that were sent to the Editor’s Code Committee.

ON page 366 of Flat Earth News, Nick Davies reveals some telling stats about complaints against the Daily Mail . He says of the Mail that:

…more than any other newspaper in Britain, it deals with falsehood and distortion.

There is a glimpse of this in our review of the records of the Press Complaints Commission. In among the thousands of cases which had fallen by the way, we drew up a league table of complaints which had succeeded, either because the PCC had eventually adjudicated against a newspaper, or because the paper had agreed some kind of resolution to satisfy the complainant.

This showed that, over that time, only four papers had suffered more than fifty successful complaints – The Times, the Mirror, the Sun and, comfortably ahead with 153 successful complaints about its reporting, the Daily Mail.

The average number of successful complaints for the rest of Fleet Street was forty-three for each paper.

On that basis, over the ten-year period, the Daily Mail has been provoking justifiable complaint about unethical behaviour at just over three times the rate of the other national titles.

And it’s still going on.

I have done a small scale survey going back from today (Report No. 80) to October 2008 (Report No. 78). For this period, the PCC website gives details of 546 complaints that are listed as ‘resolved’ (this does not included those that went to adjudication).

Of these, 253 were about various regional and local papers.

The rest (293) were aimed at the nationals, and here’s how many resolved complaints are listed for each newspaper:

  • Mail (including online) 66
  • Sun 49
  • Telegraph 25
  • Mail on Sunday 19
  • News of the World 18
  • Express 17
  • Daily Star 13
  • Guardian 13
  • Times 13
  • Mirror 10
  • People 8
  • Sunday Express 6
  • Sunday Telegraph 6
  • Independent 6
  • Metro 6
  • Sunday Times 5
  • Sunday Mirror 5
  • Observer 4
  • Daily Star Sunday 1

So the Mail accounted for 23% of all resolved complaints against national newspapers in that time (The Sun, in second, had 17%). Add the Mail on Sunday’s 19 complaints and the Mail titles made up 29%.

It is notable that in this period the Mail on Sunday received more complaints than all but three daily papers, despite coming out only once, rather than six times, per week.

Why does this matter?

Because Paul Dacre is the Editor of the Mail and, as Editor-in-Chief of Associated Newspapers, he also oversees the Mail on Sunday.

And because the same Paul Dacre is the Chair of the Editor’s Code Committee, which devises

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Posted: 21st, January 2010 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink