ONO Newsletter March 2020


Most members should have received email notification on this already, but just confirming that our annual conference, originally planned for Copenhagen from May 17-20, has been postponed due to the health and travel risks associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

We are hoping to be able to reschedule the conference later in the year, subject to the coronavirus situation improving and/or becoming clearer.

To that end, a tentative date has been set aside: September 20 – 23.

We will keep members informed over the next few months on whether we are in a position to proceed on that date.

The conference theme and key sessions will remain the same.

But while the conference has been delayed, the world of news journalism rolls on, and there are plenty of issues out there of significance for ONO and its members. Read on for more…


Most of you by now should have received an email courtesy of fellow member Kathy English, the Public Editor of the Toronto Star.

Kathy is undertaking some important research at Oxford University this year into the role of ombudsmen and public editors in the media, and she is keen to get as many responses as possible to a short survey, to help inform her work.

The results of Kathy’s work will be made available to all ONO members and should be of great interest, so I encourage you all to take a few minutes to complete the survey.

The links is here (and HURRY, as it closes on March 17):



Not surprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has led to lots of discussion about how the media should be covering it. I have no doubt that ONO members will be dealing with this issue in their own organizations, so here are some recent articles discussing the good and the bad of media coverage:



In great news for ONO members and for anyone else interested in self-regulation and strong editorial standards for newsrooms everywhere, ONO has produced an updated version of its excellent handbook: The Modern News Ombudsman – A User’s Guide.

The guide is written by Jeffrey Dvorkin, who is a distinguished journalist and academic, a former Executive Director of ONO and the former Ombudsman of NPR.

And in even better news, the handbook is now available for free as a downloadable e-book on the ONO website.

You can find it here: https://www.newsombudsmen.org/the-ono-handbook/


In a further development designed to provide information and resources for members, we are pleased to announce that the new “Members Only” section of the ONO website will go live later this month.

This section will grow and be added to over time, but as at its launch it contains contact details for all ONO members, a database of key editorial standards around the world, an “issues page” containing information and recent comments on key editorial standards as a downloadable and searchable PDF, and back copies of the ONO newsletters.

The section will only be available to financial members and will require a password for access.

All those who have paid their membership dues for 2020 will receive an email containing the password in the next week or two.

If you don’t receive your password, or if you have any other difficulties in accessing the site, please contact Alan Sunderland at newsombudsmenorg@gmail.com for assistance.

If you have suggestions on what you would like to see in the new section, please let us know and we will do our best.

And finally, if you are yet to pay your membership dues for this year, you can do so by visiting the “support” page on the ONO site and following the prompts to make the payment there.

Bjarne Schilling                                                                                         Alan Sunderland

ONO President                                                                              ONO Executive Director

Bjarne.Schilling@pol.dk                                                   newsombudsmenorg@gmail.com

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