Italy – Corriere della Sera – Journalists’ Code (1974)

The Journalists’ Code of the Corriere della Sera, stated on 3 April 1974. Signed also by Paolo Mieli on 23 December 2004.

Journalism is the fruit of a common labor to which each journalist is asked to participate according to his talents. The Editor-in-Chief and those who represent him work together to guide the process of creating the paper, according to each participant’s respective duties. Each departmental head, as assigned by the Editor-in-Chief, has autonomous control of the content to which he or she has been assigned, with the help of those working in the department. He proposes, preferably at each daily meeting, the stories of greatest interest and oversees their execution. All changes to format and pagination are carried out under the guidance and direction of the department head and the contributing journalists. But for exceptional circumstances, headlines are changed through consultation with the writer of the respective piece. Consultations are carried out under the standard hierarchical structure. Unresolved issues are brought to the Editor-in-Chief for resolution. No article signed by an author may be modified without the author’s consent. When possible, editing is carried out either by the author or by other journalists of the same department. All journalists working for the Corriere della Sera have the right to carry out the duties assigned to them, accordance to their respective qualifications. As a rule, a journalist assigned a story has the right to see his work published. With due respect to the Editor-in-Chief’s responsibilities, the Editorial Committee may ask that incomplete or incorrect stories provided and transmitted by the national newswire Ansa and/or other international sources be completed and corrected in a successive edition of the Corriere della Sera.

The Editor-in-Chief guarantees the editorial autonomy of work presented by journalists from the paper’s budgetary and financial departments.

The Separation of News and Advertising

The Editor-in-Chief has the responsibility to defend the separation of text from advertising, where technical means allow, with particular attention to “information crossing the line”. As regards special advertising supplements, the Editor-in-Chief is responsible for the clear appearance of the following phrase: “Advertising Supplement.” Further, it is his duty to maintain this clear distinction, through the use of diverse formats and fonts, or by the appearance of a journalist’s byline.

The Historical Agreement

The Autonomy of the Newspaper and Journalists’ Rights Herewith follows several accords (beyond those that guarantee a free press and its dignity) that sanction the distinct separation between the professional’s rights and duties to inform, and ownership, in all matters of editorial gestation.

The Journalists’ “Magna Charta”

1) The independence of the press and journalists from political power.

2) The independence of the press and journalists from pressure groups.

3) The active defense of constitutional rights.

4) Particular attention to the publication of information concerning social, cultural, civil and environmental problems, with the aim of providing the most modern, advanced and appropriate solutions to help eliminate inequalities, unjust privilege and parasitic advantage, and to promote progress toward a more just and equal society.

5) The separation of news – which must be ample, independent and objective – from commentary. Even though commentary may appear distinct from news items, it must nonetheless adhere to the aforesaid principles.

6) These fundamental principles are valid for all publications carrying the Corriere della Sera imprint, excepting those dedicated to interests and markets not related to the news.

The Publishers Rights and Responsibilities as Published on the Front Page of the Corriere della Sera on 29 May 1973.

Adjustments to Articles It is not necessary to add interpolations or additions to work provided and signed by a journalist, even though it may lack essential information. The procedure to follow, where applicable, is to first alert the author so that he or she may see to the adjustments. Second, a separate addition in a distinct format will be placed above or below the signed piece. Third, the integration of new material may be made into an article that will no longer bear the original author’s byline. This procedure is peremptory and allows for no exceptions to anyone.

Headline News

Headline items are chosen by the Editor-in-Chief. The evaluation of news items related to the publisher falls under the editorial discretion of the Editor-in-Chief.

The Written Statement of the Editor-in-Chief’s Rights and Responsibilities:

“This letter confirms your appointment to the post of Editor-in-Chief of the Corriere della Sera. “We assure your right to the free application of your duties in accordance with Article 6 of the National Journalists’ Labor Contract and your autonomy to carry out the duties of your office. “We request that you undertake to publish on the pages of the Corriere della Sera truthful, objective news for our readers, as well as commentary that affirms the values that defend the Constitution and the progress of a free Italian society. “In the execution of your duties, you must also maintain and further the prestige and reputation gained by our publication in the eyes of the public. You must work to ensure the independence a newspaper that represents an important cultural heritage, which must not be allowed to falter, from all political interests. “We confirm your assignment to direct the editorship of this newspaper to the utmost of your abilities.”

Documentation Confirming the Separation of the Publication of the News, which is the Journalists’ Responsibility, from Ownership and its Economic and Financial Concerns (abstracts)

The publisher confirms, as written in the accord signed on 1 June 1981:

1) The editorial staff’s utmost autonomy in its choice and presentation of the news;

2) A rigorously maintained separation between:
– the rights of the shareholders;
– responsibilities concerning budget, production and organization;
– the editorial staff’s independence from political pressures, both internal and external.
3) The right to hire and promote exclusively according to professional standards and criteria.

Minutes from the Settlement Reached before Judge Siniscalchi

RCS Rizzoli recognizes the validity of the six points of the statement released by the Publisher on 29 May 1973 RCS Rizzoli ensures the utmost autonomy of news items presented to the editorial staff from commercial (i.e. advertising) content. He confirms that all financial and budgetary responsibilities, which are deemed separate from those editorial, are to be exclusively maintained by their respective departments within the organization. No journalist may be transferred from one publication to another without his or her consent. Journalists are notified of agreements reached between the Editor-in-Chief and the Publisher and may be published upon request of the Editorial Committee. RCS Rizzoli ensures the notification of the present agreement and all future amendments to all assignees.

The Journalists’ Recommendations and the Nomination of an Editor-in-Chief

At the time of Giovanni Spadolini’s dismissal from the office of Editor-in-Chief of the Corriere della Sera, journalists gained the right to give non-mandatory recommendations in the nomination of an Editor-in-Chief. Three years later, the Publisher extended the journalists’ right to include advisement on the dismissal of an Editor-in-Chief or to the curtailment of his duties. Herewith follows the original agreement reached between the Publisher and the journalists’ representatives, signed by both, on the nomination of an Editor-in-Chief: The Publisher, independent from the internal workings of the Corriere della Sera, and in full awareness that the newspaper functions as a public service, confirms its full and absolute respect for the principles of freedom and independence of the journalists working for the Publisher. It is further aware that it has a fiscal responsibility to ensure the jobs of all who work there. Such responsibility also includes the nomination of Editors and Directors. At the same time, it reserves the right to reach special agreements with the Editorial Committee without compromising the journalists’ independence and freedom.

Procedures for the Replacement of the Editor-in-Chief according to Agreements and Praxis Reviewed and Accepted by the Publisher Rizzoli before a Judge

The Publisher convenes a meeting with the Editorial Committee and herewith informs it of its intention to appoint the journalist “Mr. Smith” (this name is an example only) as Editor-in-Chief (ex. “It is our intention to nominate Mr. Smith as Editor-in-Chief of…”). At this meeting, the Editorial Committee requests to be informed of reasons for the replacement of Editor-in-Chief. The Editorial Committee convenes a general assembly of all the journalists attached to the newspaper and informs them of the candidate’s name and the causes and circumstances of the change of directorship. (“This assembly is convened to open a debate on the effects this change may have on the political structure of the paper and to bring to the surface all possible ‘drawbacks,’ etc.”) The Editorial Committee meets with the candidate at the editorial offices, at the appropriate time (i.e. either before or after the general assembly), listens to his plans and asks him or her to commit to the adherence to those agreements previously reached between the editorial staff and the Editor-in-Chief. (The candidate will sign a form of the following agreement: “Upon my nomination to the office of Editor-in-Chief, I will adhere to this statue…”) At this time, the Editorial Committee will, if it deems it opportune or if it has been requested at previous assemblies, ask the candidate to commit to further guarantees. The Editorial Committee convenes an assembly to further discuss the directorial change and may use this opportunity to invite the candidate to present himself to the assembly. At this time the Editorial Committee informs the assembly of its meetings with the candidate, of his agreement to adhere to the principles cited above, and of his plans. The assembly may propose changes and updates. At the conclusion of this (or these) assemblies, the Editorial Committee will take a vote, carried out as a secret ballot, on blank paper stamped by the Editorial Committee, for which it does not extend proxies. In order for journalists working outside of Milan to participate in the election (apart from those working in Rome which has its own headquarters), a vote may be submitted by telephone to a member of the Editorial Committee or to someone delegated to do so by the respective department. (Departmental representatives may receive no more than one vote by telephone.) The computation of votes is carried out publicly.


a) The Publisher may appoint an Editor-in-Chief only at the conclusion of these procedures. Previous agreements or contracts are not considered valid.
b) In contrast to the previsions of the National Labor Contract, these procedures do not impose time limits on inter-corporate agreements or on the procedures of recommendation on the appointment of an Editor-in-Chief.

The Political/Editorial Stance of a Publication

The Publisher guarantees its commitment to maintain the cultural heritage represented by its publications that present certain political views. The information contained therein must be secular, democratic, anti-fascist, and respect the Constitution and the Parliamentary Democracy. Let it be further understood that the agreements, procedures and charters that represent the cultural heritage of the Corriere della Sera, are the fundamental values within which the Publisher, with the consent of the Editor-in-Chief at the time of his appointment, form the publication’s political/editorial stance. Here particular reference is made to the items listed in the Publisher’s signed statement of 29 May 1973, and to the agreement sanctioned in court on 23 July 1974.

The Letter of Intent Presented to all Appointees to the Office of Editor-in-Chief

The Editor-in-Chief’s letter of intent contains the following: “The Owner of this publication, who has the responsibility of defending the freedom and independence of this country, requests that you make every commitment to provide our readers, on the pages of this publication, with truthful and objective content, and commentary based on the principles of democracy as a means of furthering the progress of a free Italian society. Contribution to the progress of a free Italian society is understood according to the current constitutional standards of the Republic. “We ensure the Editor-in-Chief’s freedom to carry out the functions of his office as described by law and by the Journalists’ Labor Contract, guaranteeing his deserved autonomy in the execution his prescribed duties and responsibilities.”

Editorial Direction

Directors will not take a prominent role in the execution of the journalists’ work for a publication to which he or she has been assigned, nor will they seek to restrict the autonomy and responsibilities of the Editor-in-Chief as they are expressed in the Journalists’ Labor Contract.

The Enduring Legacy of Via Solferino

Journalists have taken a major role in rescuing the Historical Archives of Via Solferino and in the formation of the Foundation of the Corriere della Sera. This work has been acknowledge in the agreement reached between the Publisher and the journalists’ representatives for the suspension of material contested in the suit brought before Tar del Lazio (18 June 1997). RCS Rizzoli has committed to a series of programs and investments, including the reconstruction of the Archive (so that it may be cataloged and opened for research). It has committed resources to further the development of the Corriere della Sera, thus reestablishing its cultural and historical significance. The corporation, through an effective and positive restructuring, assures that all products and journalistic material connected in any way to the Corriere della Sera adhere to the tradition, quality and thoroughness represented by the imprint. Journalistic work carried out externally, and only in accordance to prescribed regulations, will not have an adverse economic effects upon the Corriere della Sera. RCS Rizzoli has made a clear mark in the sector of the daily news by valuing the work done by the professionals of this organization and through the promotion of those who most deserve it. This value is increased through the utilization of internships and other tools and programs that promote the professional and cultural growth of its journalists.

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