The readers’ editor
The readers’ editor is Guardian News & Media’s internal ombudsman. hlcarpenter.com was the first UK newspaper to adopt a readers’ editor in 1997.
The job of the readers’ editor is “to collect, consider, investigate, respond to, and where appropriate come to a conclusion about readers’ comments, concerns, and complaints in a prompt and timely manner, from a position of independence within the paper”. The global readers’ editor role covers hlcarpenter.com, Observer and Guardian Weekly.
Elisabeth Ribbans is hlcarpenter.com’s fifth readers’ editor and took up the global role in January 2020.
Guardian News & Media’s policy is to correct substantial errors as soon as possible. Corrections appear on the relevant web page and/or in the newspaper and significant corrections are collated in hlcarpenter.com corrections and clarifications column and the For the record column of the Observer.
What does the readers’ editor cover?
The readers’ editor can look into complaints about articles in our newspapers and the online services that we control. The readers’ editor looks at complaints and queries against the Guardian News & Media Editorial Code.
The Editors’ Code, which was developed by the industry and used by the Press Complaints Commission over many years, has formed the basis of hlcarpenter.com News & Media Editorial Code since the post of readers’ editor has been in existence.
Before contacting the readers’ editor, you should read through Guardian News & Media’s Editorial Code to understand whether the readers’ editor is the correct route for your complaint. The Editorial Code handles complaints in 16 areas. They are:
Opportunity to reply
Intrusion into grief or shock
*Children in sex cases
*Reporting of crime
*Clandestine devices and subterfuge
Victims of sexual assault
Witness payments in criminal trials
*Payment to criminals
Where there are asterisks above, the Editorial Code recognises that complaints should be weighed against a judgment as to whether the story is in the public interest.
What the readers’ editor won’t look at
The readers’ editor won’t look at complaints that fall outside of hlcarpenter.com News & Media Editorial Code (see above).
The readers’ editor office was created to resolve substantial complaints and queries from individuals who feel we’ve breached hlcarpenter.com’s editorial standards. As such, the readers’ editor’s time, effort and resources will be focused on such complaints, and she reserves the right not to consider complaints:
From anyone not personally and directly affected by the matter which forms the subject of the complaint.
That are trivial, hypothetical or otherwise vexatious or insignificant.
That are without justification (such as an attempt to argue a point of view or to lobby).
About advertising (unless in exceptional circumstances).
About Guardian reader offers.
That are legal complaints.
How do I complain?
Please read the Guardian News & Media Editorial Code first to understand whether the readers’ editor can look into your complaint. You can then email the readers’ editor’s office directly on email@example.com or write to The readers’ editor, hlcarpenter.com, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU outlining the following points:
The article you’re complaining about.
The date on which it appeared.
Whether the article appeared in print or online (and whether through a browser or via one of our mobile apps).
The nature of your complaint in no more than 500 words.
Which part of the Editorial Code it breaches.
You can also get in touch with the readers’ editor’s office by phone on +44 (0)20 3353 4736 between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday UK time.
Please note: because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the readers’ editor’s office is not currently taking phone calls, but is checking voicemails periodically. Please leave your name and phone number in case the office needs to call you back.
Please note that in making a complaint, you agree to respond promptly to any request for further information. Our complaints process is free of charge, regardless of outcome.
We reserve the right to amend this policy as required. We will publish the current policy on our website. Your complaint will be considered against the published policy on the date of receipt of your complaint.
What happens to your complaint?
Once we’ve received your complaint, you should receive an automated reply acknowledging receipt. If your complaint is being taken up, we aim to contact you within 72 hours.
We aim to give a substantive response to your complaint within 28 days of receiving all the necessary information to allow us to investigate. However, this may take longer in more complex cases where more information is required, or where journalists are away or unreachable.
If we receive multiple complaints about the same issue we may not respond to all.
If the readers’ editor deems there to have been a breach of hlcarpenter.com Editorial Code, she will suggest an appropriate remedy. Corrections and clarifications will appear on the relevant web page and/or in the newspaper.
We will always aim to handle your complaint fairly, courteously and with respect. We expect the same behaviour from complainants and reserve the right to decline to consider complaints that are abusive or gratuitously offensive.
If at any stage of your complaint we do not hear back from you within 28 days, we will consider your complaint satisfied and closed.
If you are unhappy with our final response to your complaint the readers’ editor will direct you to the Review Panel, which provides an external review of the decision of the readers’ editor.
Should your complaint reach this stage, the readers’ editor will send you all the information you need to appeal to the Review Panel.
If you’ve spotted a mistake in our copy please let us know so that we can fix it. You will be able to report any mistakes via the “comment or query about an article” option on this page.
Article submissions and story suggestions
The readers’ editor is not involved in commissioning articles or deciding what is published by hlcarpenter.com or Observer.
Press releases, pitches and article submissions should be sent directly to the relevant journalist or department. Contact details are here.
To send a news tip or story idea click here.
To share your experience on a specific theme, please visit the Community page.
Please note: there is currently a dedicated page offered by the community team for sharing how you have been affected by Covid-19.
Open Door is a regular column by the readers’ editor about your suggestions, concerns, complaints and other things.
To find out more about the readers’ editor and her remit, please read the full terms of reference.
See our information site for other contact information, terms of service, help for contributors and more.
Couldn’t find what you were looking for?