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Constitution of the Reuters Institute

The constitution contains details of our official mandate and the way in which the Institute is run.

A. The purposes of the Institute (the "purposes") are as follows:

  • to become the focus within the University for the study of the role of journalism in modern societies around the world;
  • to consider the ethical basis, the practice and the development of journalism, and its public policy implications;
  • to pursue impartial scholarship of the highest standard in the study of journalism as it is practised on all media platforms at an international, national and local level;
  • to offer an academic analysis of long term issues, but also to respond in a timely way to the emerging agenda created by the news media in their daily operations;
  • to sustain and promote the Thomson Reuters Foundation Visiting Journalist Fellowship programme; and
  • to provide an independent forum for exchanges between practitioners and analysts of journalism, and all those affected by it.

B. The Institute will be an integral part of The Department of Politics and International Relations and be accountable for its operation to the Department's General Purposes Committee and the Head of the Department.

C. The Institute will have a director who shall have the responsibilities set out below:

  • to provide academic leadership to the Institute;
  • to have responsibility for the direction and work of the Institute and for the staff employed in the Institute;
  • to have responsibility for the maintenance and development of Thomson Reuters Foundation's Visiting Journalist Fellowship programme, and for its integration into the Institute;
  • to provide leadership in the raising of external funding to support the Institute's work;
  • to prepare strategic five year plans and annual operating statements for the work of the Institute, within the overall strategic and operational plans of the Department, the Division and the University;
  • to prepare the annual report of the Institute and to report annually and as otherwise required to the trustees of the Reuters Foundation ;
  • to ensure the efficient working of the Institute on a day-to-day basis.
  • In carrying out the above responsibilities, the Director will be accountable to a Steering Committee, which will be a Committee of the Department (see E below).

D. The terms of reference of the Steering Committee shall be:

  • to have general oversight of the Institute, its programme of activities and its strategic intentions;
  • to receive regular reports from the Director on the Institute’s activities and programmes;
  • to approve strategies for fundraising and income generation and to review and approve donations to the Institute;
  • to approve the Institute's five-year plans, annual operating statements and financial outcomes and report these to the Department;
  • to approve draft job descriptions for the Directorship and other senior posts in the Institute for recommendation to the Department; to approve recommendations from the committees responsible for the holders of such posts; and to monitor appointments to 'soft money' funded posts within overall Departmental and University policies;
  • to approve the annual report of the Institute;
  • to consider, in exceptional circumstances, a matter on which the Director and other senior members of the Institute have failed to reach agreement and which is referred to it.
  • to report to the Department's General Purposes Committee and to the Head of Department.
  • to support the Institute's relationship with Thomson Reuters Foundation

E. The Steering Committee shall comprise the following persons:

  • The Head of the Department (or his or her nominee);
  • If the Institute is housed in a College, the Head of the College (or his or her nominee);
  • The Director of the Institute;
  • Other Institute Directors as approved by the Steering Committee;
  • A member appointed by the Head of Division
  • A member appointed by the Head of Department;
  • The Departmental Administrator
  • for so long as the Agreement between Thomson Reuters Foundation and the University of Oxford is in force, a person appointed by (and who may be replaced by) the Foundation;
  • up to two members of the University co-opted by the Committee with the approval of the Head of Department.

The Committee may resolve from time to time to add further persons to the above complement. These members serve on three-year period which can be renewed by the Committee.

The Head of Department shall nominate the Chair of the Committee from amongst the Committee members, after taking the advice of the Committee. The Chair serves on a three-year term that can be renewed by the Head of Department after taking the advice of the Committee.

All members are covered by the University’s Conflict of Interest policy and the Head of Department shall, after taking the advice of the Committee, determine whether any such conflicts between the Chair or other members and personal interests or duties to other people or organisations are being properly managed or avoided. In addition to the Director of the Institute and other Institute employees, the Steering Committee shall consist of a maximum of 15 other members (including those appointed, those co-opted, and those added by the Committee itself).

The Institute Administrator shall act as the Secretary to the Committee. The Committee shall meet at least once in each University Term.

F. The Director shall propose to the Steering Committee, for its approval, a scheme of internal organisation for the Institute, having regard to the size of the Institute, the pattern of research and other academic activities, and his or her expertise and experience.

G. The Institute shall have an Advisory Board which shall consist of a group of persons chosen for their expertise or experience relevant to the work of the Institute. Its remit shall be:

  • to create a network between the Institute and major organisations in the world of journalism, the academy and public policy connected with journalism;
  • to connect the Institute with research and funding partners and assist in fundraising and income generation;
  • to help develop the range of the Institute’s activities, for the benefit of journalism worldwide;
  • Advisory Board members shall be elected initially for a three year period which shall be renewable.

H. The University shall provide the Institute with suitable premises for the institute to be operated in the ordinary course and to achieve the purposes, such premises initially to be in 13 Norham Gardens, Oxford.

I. The Director shall have an agreement with the Head of Department over the use of space and facilities, the division of duties between the administrative staff in the Department and in the Institute and (subject to paragraph K below) the financial arrangements between the Institute and the Department.

J. If the Institute is housed in a college the University shall enter into a lease or licence with the College for the occupation of the Institute’s premises, and the outgoings under that lease shall be charged at cost to the Department (for the Institute). If the Institute is housed in a Society the Registrar shall have an agreement with the Heads of the Society and the Department for the financial and maintenance arrangements between the Society, the Department and the University's central funds.

K. Amending the Constitution of the Institute requires the support of both the Steering Committee and the General Purposes Committee of the Department of Politics and International Relations.