Update: How we report sensitive stories and increase committee transparency

The Saint endeavours to report sensitive stories accurately and effectively; we never want to cause distress or hurt. We apologise for any pain caused by the article “Why Harry was Right”. Humour should never have been used to address the serious issues depicted, which exceeded the scope of the article. We are holding ourselves accountable and have put the following measures in place.

The Saint, as both a newspaper that reports distressing stories of sexual misconduct, and as a society with a social element, welcome mandatory GotConsent workshops for all appointed members.

 

Policy on sensitive stories

All pieces, from any section, which cover sensitive issues must be flagged to the Editorial Board after pitching.

The Editorial Board will review these stories and may choose to consult external groups for perspectives. Exceptions have been made for breaking news pieces, pieces still ongoing where elements are still necessary to confirm or complete the story (such as further evidence and comment), and stories under embargo (embargoed stories are typically those which are only accurate after the release of further information; for example, science stories where the study has yet to be released). All other flagged pieces will undergo collective examination by the Editorial Board before publishing. There will be no exceptions for this in Viewpoint. We believe in free comment; nevertheless, these matters must be addressed sensitively.

Concern about sensitive issues cannot be dismissed by the writer alone and must be raised to the Editorial Board. The Section Editor should frequently check for red-flagged articles on the master list. Section Editor red flags have been separated from those in Copyediting, this is because of the closer communication Section Editors have with the Editorial Board on these issues. This will avoid confusion for the Copyeditor and will allow them to work in the knowledge that concerns are being addressed. Copyeditors can flag issues of sensitivity too.

The Saint will not at present use trigger warnings due to scientific evidence which suggests that they can be counterproductive. If the evidence changes, this decision will be reviewed.

 

Transparency in the production process

For Issue releases, elements of the master list will be made available to writers and illustrators. We cannot make available ongoing news pieces where elements are still necessary to confirm or complete the story (such as further evidence and comment), we also cannot share embargoed stories.

Writers will be required to describe the content of any article when pitching; this often changes during the writing process and the Section Editors should be updated. As well as the descriptors, illustrators will be provided links to the completed pieces that their work will be featured alongside. We cannot make available ongoing news pieces where elements are still necessary to confirm or complete the story (such as further evidence and comment), we also cannot share embargoed stories.

 

Ease of contact

Previously to contact The Saint, it was necessary to email the Editor or the respective Section Editors or contact us via social media. We have decided to make this easier by adding a contact us form online.