Italian daily newspaper La Stampa now has a public editor, Anna Masera.
In a Facebook post on her public editor page, Masera wrote she will serve as ombudswoman for the Turin-based newspaper by receiving “comments and criticisms which relate to the news and discussions” in La Stampa, handling correction requests, publishing corrections weekly, and helping with “reader engagement” by telling staff about reader thoughts.
Masera described the job as “a new position in the panorama of Italian journalism,” according to a Google Translate, and noted the newspaper created the position of social media editor for her.
According to the UK news outlet Britaly Post, Masera will be the first public editor in Italy.
Masera told iMediaEthics by e-mail she previously has been the social media editor and web editor for La Stampa, and has had “a full-time contract indefinitely” with the newspaper. She wote that she doesn’t know how long her term as public editor will last because there is “no set term.”
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“I proposed a year, the editor-in-chief didn’t want to set a date,” Masera told iMediaEthics.
According to Masera, she will report to the editorial department and she suggested the position to the newspaper. “I think it’s a necessary step in the direction of transparency and search of readership trust, that needs to be re-earned as newspapers are in crisis,” Masera said of the public editor role.
iMediaEthics has written to the Organization of News Ombudsmen to confirm that Masera is the first public editor in Italy.
UPDATE: 1/19/2016 8:18 PM EST Kirk LaPointe, executive director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, told iMediaEthics: “To the best of my knowledge, there have been other public editors and ombudsmen in Italy. One was recently an ONO member.”