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Senior regional press executive Benson to chair Editor’s Code Committee

neilbensonLong-serving regional newspaper executive Neil Benson is to be the new head of the press watchdog’s Editor’s Code Committee., it was announced today.

Neil, who recently stepped down after 16 years as Trinity Mirror’s editorial director, regionals, will take over from Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.

Paul, who has chaired the committee for the past nine years under the aegis of both the Press Complaints Commission and the Independent Press Standards Organisation, announced he was standing down last December.

Neil, who was elected to the chairmanship by the committee’s industry members, recently moved to a new role as Trinity Mirror’s executive editor.

He said: “On behalf of the committee, I should like to express our sincere thanks to Paul Dacre, whose chairmanship has been so sure-footed during a particularly challenging period for our industry.

“I am honoured to be elected as his successor and I look forward to working with my fellow committee members as we consider the submissions to the recent Code Review.”

The role of the Code Committee is to write and review the code of practice that sets ethical standards for journalists.

Actual press complaints are then investigated by IPSO according to the framework set out in the Code.

Among the changes introduced as a result of the recent Review was a requirement that editors should not publish headlines not supported by the text of the article beneath.

Other Code changes included strengthening the provisions relating to the reporting of suicide, discrimination, complaints resolution and the public interest.

Said Paul: “The Editor’s Code is the cornerstone of self-regulation of the press, and it has been an enormous honour to have chaired the Code Committee for the last nine turbulent years.

“As group executive editor of Trinity Mirror Neil Benson has vast experience of how the Code works and I am sure he will do a brilliant job steering the Code Committee through the challenges of the digital age. The Code could not have a better custodian, and I wish him every success.”

In another change to the Code Committee, Johnston Press deputy editor-in-chief Gary Shipton is replacing Ian Murray, who has now become deputy executive director of the Society of Editors.

Other regional press members currently serving on the committee include Nottingham Post editor Mike Sassi, South London Press editor Hannah Walker and Press and Journal editor Damian Bates.