Editorial complaints guidelines

The Advisory Group plays a role in ensuring the SMC adheres to its Terms of
Reference by:

  1. Providing strategic advice on its activities as required.
  2. Regularly evaluating the output of the SMC to determine whether it is
    maintaining an independent editorial policy and conforming to the SMC’s
    operating principles (see Appendix I).
  3. Considering and resolving formal complaints relating to the SMC’s
    editorial output*.

* Editorial output relates to all material published on websites maintained by the NZ
Science Media Centre, as well as any material issued in press releases, social media
messages or any other channels controlled or relating to the SMC.

An editorial committee of up to three Advisory Group members is appointed to
deal with editorial matters such as: complaints, advising the SMC Director on
contentious issues, balance, expert selection policies and publication standards.

Complaints received about the SMC’s editorial content which cannot be resolved
by the SMC’s Director are reviewed by the editorial committee of the Advisory
Group, (or a subset if an urgent editorial decision needs to be made).

All formal complaints must be in writing and will be dealt with in a timely and
transparent manner, guided by relevant media industry standards and practice.

The editorial committee will consider the content and circumstances of
publication and will direct the SMC’s Director to act on its recommendations,
which may include measures to correct or remove content.

Royal Society Te Apārangi Council, as the body responsible for governance of the
SMC, will be notified of all complaints and updated on the decisions of the
editorial committee through the Society’s Chief Executive.

Should complaints be directed to the Society, they will be passed to the SMC’s
Director and notified to the editorial committee of the Advisory Group.

In the case of editorial issues that have a high likelihood of resulting in legal
action, the Society’s Chief Executive will be notified immediately and legal
counsel sought via the Society. The Advisory Group should not be called on to
adjudicate in matters where there is a threat of litigation.

Resolution of issues between SMC and Royal Society Te Apārangi leadership

Should issues arise between the SMC Director and Royal Society’s Chief Executive
concerning the editorial and operational independence of the SMC, the Chair of
the SMC Advisory Group can contact the Society’s President to help facilitate
resolution of the issues.

Updated July 2022