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Guardian appoints former IPSO complaints committee member as new readers' editor

A former member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation Complaints Committee has been appointed global readers’ editor for the Guardian Media Group.

Elisabeth Ribbans, who spent five years as Guardian managing editor, will oversee reader complaints relating to all Guardian News and Media titles, including the Observer and the Guardian’s US and Australia operations.

Ribbans will join the Guardian in January from the British Copyright Council where she is currently director of public affairs.

She was a member of IPSO’s Complaints Committee from 2014 to 2017. The committee judges complaints relating to potential breaches of the Editors’ Code guidelines delivers adjudications.

The Guardian is not a member of IPSO, choosing instead to regulate itself, with the readers’ editor acting as an internal ombudsman.

Ribbans was Guardian managing editor between 2008 and 2013 and has previously held various roles at the news organisation, including Guardian associate editor and deputy editor of Guardian Weekly.

She said: The independent readers’ editor model at the Guardian is admired by many around the world, and I am honoured to be taking on this important role at a time when trust and accuracy are more important than ever for news media.”

Ribbans will replace Paul Chadwick, who is returning to his native Australia in January after four years in the role.

She will report directly to GMG owner The Scott Trust, which said this system maintains “independence and impartiality for the Guardian’s internal complaints processes”.

It added that the job includes collecting, considering, investigating, responding to, and where necessary ordering corrections about readers’ comments, concerns and complaints.

Scott Trust chairman Alex Graham said: Elisabeth Ribbans will bring a huge amount of experience as our new global readers’ editor, both as a journalist and an expert in media standards, and I am delighted she is taking the job.

“I know she will bring real rigour and fairness to this vital role.

“On behalf of the Scott Trust and wider Guardian and Observer staff I would also like to pay tribute to Paul Chadwick, who has carried out the role for four years with such a strong commitment to transparency and high standards.”

Picture: Guardian News and Media

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1 thought on “Guardian appoints former IPSO complaints committee member as new readers' editor”

  1. The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor system has failed. The Guardian receives more complaints per year (over 30,000) than IPSO receives (over 20,000) about all the newspapers it regulates. Many of the complaints received by IPSO fall outside its remit but last year it investigated 507 complaints and upheld only 71. The Guardian does not give a detailed breakdown of how many complaints were upheld, not upheld or not investigated but it publishes more than 3,000 corrections and clarifications per year, most of which are concerned with minor errors. Complaints concerning examples of deliberate dishonesty by Guardian writers are ignored by The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor’s office and now there is no external backstop as the PCC has been abolished there is little that readers can do so Guardian writers know that they can lie and get away with it.

    Paul Chadwick is the worst Readers’ Editor The Guardian has had. In his time he has paid far too much attention to other organisations and written very little in his Open Door column about The Guardian’s journalism. Many of his columns have not been opened to comments from readers, he has not regularly engaged with readers below the line like his predecessors did and no tweets have been posted on The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor Twitter account since June. His predecessor Chris Elliott wrote about how the Readers’ Editor’s office couldn’t cope with the volume of complaints and had little power to effect change and the same problems with Guardian journalism kept reoccurring. Paul Chadwick has barely even addressed those problems, never mind solved them or addressed serious questions about The Guardian’s journalism. The Guardian’s system of self-regulation doesn’t work and it was never meant to work as it is a sham and the Readers’ Editor is just a human shield for the editor. Appointing another former Guardian staff member won’t fix the system or make The Guardian an honest newspaper.

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