Editorial workflow

Status: draft

Responsible Persons

  • Director for International Relations, ECO group leader, Head of editorial content development, Head of Global Constituency Engagement, Head of press, Head of physics education research, Section leader for visitor and local engagement, Head of audiovisual production service, Head of design and visual identity service 
  • Please see the Group Structure for more detail.


  • To ensure that information is provided to all key stakeholder groups in a timely and appropriate form.
  • To ensure that news planning is optimised over both the short and long term.
  • To ensure that static content is always relevant and up to date.

Key messages

  • Fundamental science satisfies the basic human instinct to explore
  • Fundamental science is a driving force for technical innovation, collaboration and scientific education: without fundamental science, there is no science to apply
  • CERN is a world leader in fundamental research
  • The LHC has launched a new era of discovery and understanding of fundamental questions about the Universe
  • LHC technologies create benefits for society
  • CERN and the LHC are excellent examples of science transcending barriers of age, religion, gender and nationality

Target audiences

  • The CERN community (including scientific, administrative and professional staff, contractors working on site and users)
  • The media
  • The scientific community
  • Students and educators
  • Industry
  • The local community
  • The general public


All publication channels controlled by ECO are covered by this procedure:

  • Print
  • Online (web and social media)
  • Audiovisual (Video news, VNRs, iTunesU, photography, audio)
  • Press releases (written and visual)

Nature of activity

The CERN editorial cycle is based on a series of meetings.

  • A quarterly planning meeting identifies long-term trends along with upcoming themes, events and campaigns, reviews static content (audiovisual, print and online) and serves to set the agenda for the upcoming quarter.
  • A weekly meeting on Monday morning and chaired by the Head of editorial content development serves to identify stories, match them to audiences, assign people to take responsibility for their production and set the news agenda for the week.
  • A daily (standing) meeting reviews progress and adapts to breaking news as needed.


  • Relevant and up to date static content.
  • Targeted news for all key audiences.

Part of annual budget



A member of the writing and editing team deputises for the Head of editorial content development. An press office chosen by the Head of press deputises for the Head of press.

Key actors

Audience managers are responsible for pitching stories for deliberation in the Monday and daily meetings, and for commissioning content for their specific audiences. Requests must be agreed with the Head of editorial content development, where possible through the meetings described below. Audience managers may accept story ideas pitched by content producers, and should detail the angle and tone of the pieces to be produced. Audience managers have the responsibility for signing off pieces. Audience managers will also produce content as necessary. For the purposes of editorial workflow, the Head of press is considered to be an Audience manager.  [Editorial note: Currently there are no audience managers in the team, although this may change]

The Head of editorial content development runs the content section and chairs the weekly and daily meetings, working with the content team to decide priorities and appropriate channels. They are responsible for assigning work to the content team, and ensuring that the overall editorial line is adhered to. 

Content producers, writers and audiovisual personnel work across audiences and channels. They may identify and submit stories to comms.request@cern.ch. Content producers do not research in depth, or produce content until it has been commissioned.

The web editor, in conjunction with the social media officer, the web team and the content team, has responsibility for the top level content and responsibility to oversee the application of editorial standards across the whole web site.

Meeting structure

The Communication Advisory Board [1] is represented in the quarterly meeting to advise on emerging themes. It also intervenes on request from the DG.

The quarterly meeting is intended to fix the agenda for the coming three months in terms of static content to be produced or revised, and the likely news agenda in terms of predictable themes, events and campaigns. It involves the Head of content and Audience managers. Representatives of Departments, experiments and key groups are invited to the first part of the meeting to present upcoming activity in their areas. The second part of the meeting serves to assign priorities and responsibilities within IR-ECO-CO.

The weekly meeting is chaired by the Head of content. Its purpose is to fix the news agenda for the upcoming week, establish the audience(s) and channel(s) for each story. It is the Head of content’s responsibility to assign stories to members of the content team. It involves the section leaders, content team and other key stakeholders from outside IR-ECO (for example, the editor of ISGTW) when they have news of relevance to IR-ECO. It should review the status of stories previously agreed for the week ahead, look at what has come up since the previous meeting, and look ahead to the following weeks.

The daily meeting is chaired by the Head of editorial content development, and has the purpose of reviewing progress through the week, and taking into account breaking news. It involves content producers, the head of the audio visual production service and other members of IR-ECO with breaking news.

Section leaders may raise any doubts with IR- ECO, who may in turn consult the Communications Advisory Board, or appropriate members of the senior management.

Collecting information

Stories can come from a number of sources:

  • CERN staff, users, experiment collaborations
  • Official news and announcements
  • Content team members who discover further news
  • Outside sources, for example Nature, other labs

Everyone, including the content team, should post ideas to comms.request@cern.ch, summarizing the content, giving deadlines and the proposed target audience. This should happen before the weekly meeting, but stories may be brought up there too. The comms.request@cern.ch email address will be reviewed each day by the Head of editorial content development and the content section, who will direct urgent stories at the relevant content producers, they will then judge the importance and relevance. Non-urgent stories will be discussed at the weekly meeting and assigned or dropped. Urgent stories will be discussed at the daily meeting, which the relevant people may attend.


The section leaders have responsibility for signing off all content commissioned by them. All products, written or audio visual, must also be approved by a technical contact, who is responsible for securing any of their own hierarchical approvals as may be required. It is the audience manager’s responsibility to inform the technical contact of this requirement. No copyediting changes should be made after sign off, without first consulting the audience manager. The audience manager may raise any doubts with the Head of editorial content development, who may in turn consult the IR-ECO GL, the communications advisory board, or appropriate members of the senior management.

Formats and guidelines

All products are produced to formats that must be adhered to. Formats are described at http://cern.ch/writing-guidelines. Social media guidelines must also be adhered to.

[1] The Communication Advisory Board consists of representatives of all scientific and technical departments at CERN. Its role is to advise on communications matters through the quarterly meeting, and on request from the DG-CO group leader.

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