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Sunday 23 April 2017

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Editorial and commercial guidelines

Guidelines on the relationship between editorial and commercial departments.

Telegraph Media Group

Our commitment to integrity

The Telegraph Media Group is a trusted and respected media brand, committed to providing journalism of the highest quality and integrity. As such we have obligations to our readers, viewers and the wider public, but also to our advertisers, suppliers and partners.

Our brand and our values are our most vital assets. Their maintenance depends on our commitment to the core journalistic values of accuracy, fairness and fearless reporting in the public interest.

Our ability to provide high quality journalism depends on commercial success. In a fast-changing media world, we must innovate to achieve that success, while at all times ensuring we preserve editorial independence, which is paramount to the integrity of all our products.

These guiding principles outline standards of good practice which are to be observed and maintained by all employees, contractors and freelancers who provide services to the Company.

They will form an ongoing part of training for all staff.

Observing industry Codes

Telegraph staff must be familiar with and observe all relevant industry Codes.

The Editors' Code of Practice administered by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) stipulates that the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.

The Advertising Code administered by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP Code) and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority, lays down rules for advertisers, agencies and media owners to follow. Under the Code advertising must be responsible, and not mislead, harm or offend its audience. Particular rules cover advertising to children and specific sectors such as alcohol, gambling, motoring, health and financial products.

The Content and Native Disclosure Guidelines issued by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) set out principles of best practice to promote continued growth in innovative areas of advertising.

Ensuring a clear distinction between editorial and commercial activities

It is entirely appropriate, and indeed essential, that editorial staff understand and contribute to the commercial success of the Telegraph. However, editorial independence must always be maintained. Commercial staff should not influence editorial’s story judgments in connection with any advertiser’s or potential advertiser’s interest. The final decision on all editorial content is the Editor’s.

Any commercially paid content beyond traditional advertisements must be clearly and appropriately marked as per protocols.

Transparency

It is perfectly proper for journalists to write content that is paid for commercially, provided that it is clearly marked as such. In undertaking such tasks, journalists should do nothing to compromise their ability to write for our audience objectively, fairly and honestly.

If a company has provided any significant free products or services to assist with editorial this must be appropriately noted.

Uses of social media to promote a company’s product or services must be clearly marked as commercial content and must comply with the CAP Code and TMG protocols.

TMG staff who have personal social media accounts should also follow the CAP Code if promoting a commercial campaign.

Payments in respect of the creation of commercial content

All payments to staff and contributors for the creation of commercial content must be approved by their line manager in advance in writing. Commercially funded positions in editorial are permitted but hires must be made by editorial and such staff must work to editorial contracts and in line with editorial standards.

Enforcing these guidelines

All commercial campaigns involving editorial should adhere to these guidelines, Codes and accompanying protocols. They must have senior editorial executive sign­off before they are agreed.

Complex, exceptional or controversial issues will be escalated to a weekly editorial­commercial meeting for sign­off. Matters that cannot be resolved there will be escalated to the Editor, the commercial director and the chief financial officer.

The Editor’s decision on the use of editorial placements in relation to a campaign shall be final.

If you are ever in doubt about any matter concerning business conduct, please seek advice from any senior member of your executive team.

IPSO Editors' Code of Practice

CAP Non-broadcast Advertising Codes

IAB Content and Native Disclosure Guidance

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