What is IPSO?

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is an optional press regulatory body that has replaced the Press Complaints Commission (PPC).

IPSO, which launched on September 8th 2014, is the resulting regulatory body following the phone hacking scandal and the Leveson Inquiry.

If a newspaper has received a complaint about something they have published from a member of the public, unlike the PCC, IPSO gives the publication a 7-day window in order to rectify their mistake. If the publication fails to respond to the complaint, IPSO then starts an investigation.

IPSO can give advice to publications and have full control over how and what they publish in an apology or correction. The PCC did not have such power.

I feel this is a more thorough and effective way to handle complaints against the press, as it gives the publications a chance to deal with the problem and publish an apology before an investigation, that sometimes can be pointless, is begun.

However, due to differing opinions on how the British press should be regulated, only 90% of newspapers and magazines have signed up to IPSO. Publications that have opted out of joining IPSO are: The Guardian, Financial Times and The Independent.

These newspapers have doubts and/or differing opinions on how the press should be regulated, and thus are opting to be self-regulated until IPSO works out its kinks.

A Royal Charter, a proposition that publications should be regulated by the Government, is opposed by editors and journalists, as this would counteract the premise of a “free press”.

Is Our Print Industry in Decline?

Magazine sales figures indicate that our print industry is in a downward spiral, but I think it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, the younger generation is living in the digital age, but traditionalists will always favour print.

Unfortunately, I feel I’m in the minority when it comes to my preference for print. Publishing groups in the UK have seen their revenue fall seven per cent year on year due to digitalisation.

To halt this, publications just need to move with the times, and adapt to the latest media technologies. As long as they don’t alienate their older demographic, who are most likely to purchase in print.

Although figures from Condé Nast and Time Inc. UK indicate that sales figures have decreased drastically within the past four years, I feel that a market for print will be present for the foreseeable future.

These magazine publications just need to be innovative in the way they market their products, such as having a prominent online presence via website, mobile applications, and social media.

Magazines such as Vogue (which sits under the Condé Nast umbrella) have branched out to selling their product online- not only on their website, but on applications such as the Newsstand for Apple devices. Online magazines have made a distinctive mark on the industry, as buying an online version of a magazine on your phone or tablet is super quick an easy.

The platforms for publications are varied, and this is why I feel these publishing companies will always have an audience. If these publications feel what their target market wants and prefers, I think they can survive… and thrive.

“Anonymous”

Increasing numbers of news sites are crediting “anonymous” or “unnamed sources” in their articles, but why? What’s the big deal? Whose identity is so top secret that it needs to be kept under wraps?

Mostly, these “sources” simply don’t want their names to be related to certain news topics, for no reason but, to quote The Washington Post, “because of the delicacy of [certain] situations”.

Is this frustrating for the reader? In my opinion, yes. When I’m reading a story, be it gossip columns on showbiz websites, or hard news articles by newspapers, “unnamed sources” equals “made up people”, in my head at least.

The backlash from readers about the rising number of anonymous sources has prompted many newspapers and websites to start explaining why anonymous sources do not want to be identified.

  • In May 2013, in an article about Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr, a Los Angeles Times source remained nameless “to preserve the relationship with both companies”.
  • In October 2013, in a story about a local mayoral race, The Boston Globe left their source unidentified because their source “did not want to offend other unions”.