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February 28, 2015updated 02 Mar 2015 2:19pm

Telegraph editor Chris Evans invites staff to contribute ideas on new editorial/commercial guidelines

By Dominic Ponsford

Telegraph group editor Chris Evans has invited his journalists to contribute to new guidelines on the relationship between editorial and commercial.

The move follows the resignation earlier this month of chief political commentator Peter Oborne who claimed the paper had allowed commercial concerns to mute its coverage of the HSBC Swiss tax avoidance scandal.

The Telegraph denied this in a leader column last week and Evans repeated this point when he addressed staff in the third monthly meeting he has hosted since becoming director of content (effectively editor of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and website). Since October, chief content officer and editor in chief Jason Seiken has taken on a more strategic role and not been involved in day to day editorial matters.

Press Gazette understands that Evans told staff: "Firstly no subject is off limits. You should feel free to pursue any matter which appears to be in the public interest

"That doesn't mean anything goes. Editors reserve the right to edit, as they do at editorial organisations the world over.

"Second, we are renewing guidelines to define how editorial and commercial work together. We want to do this quickly

"But we want to do it properly. And we want your ideas. Some of you have already contributed suggestions. I would urge all of you who care about this to make proposals to your line manager."

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Evans also talked about the "challenging times for the industry" and noted that the Telegraph marks its 160th anniversary this year.

He said: "What we want and what our owners want is that The Telegraph should survive and prosper for another 160 years. Which brings me to my third and final point.

"Journalism matters. Journalism is valuable. And not just valuable in the sense that it enriches our understanding and holds the powerful to account.

"It does of course and we've seen that this week. Our mission is to turn the Telegraph into the pre-eminent digital publisher. A publisher which also produces the best quality newspaper. And we're not doing too badly either."

He noted that data released by the National Readership Survey says the Telegraph is read (in print and online) by one in three UK adults every month.

He added: "The Daily Telegraph continues to be the best-selling quality daily, outselling its nearest competitor by more than 120,000 copies every day. The Telegraph is also the leading quality news brand on mobile — enjoyed by more than seven million smartphone users every month."

Evans also revealed yesterday that former Telegraph journalist Matthew Bayley, now at Sky News, is rejoining as assistant editor – content strategy.

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