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Austria – (F7) Procedures on news selection and news processing

Score in short:

Institutionalized means of criticizing journalistic working habits only exist in a few newsrooms and are not regularly practiced.

Score in detail:

Stylebooks are rare in Austrian newsrooms. The ORF has recently developed a code of conduct yet to be accepted by all contributors. So far, the editors-in-chief relied more on the individual professionalism of their journalistic staff than on formalized rules. They emphasized the implicitness of such criteria in the journalistic working process. Discussions on news values and news selection are occasion-driven and part of the journalistic routines. However, all editors-in-chief emphasized that news items should not be published without being checked by at least two people; although they admitted that this may not happen under time pressure. The ORF has more institutionalized and complex forms of news selection, as a check and re-check system has been implemented. More general reflections on values and habits are rare in Austrian newsrooms and hardly seen as gainful or commendable experiences.