This article applies genre analysis to the state reports of fourteen countries in two first cycles of monitoring of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Focusing on the packaging of information and modality (level of the word), sentence length and quoted speech (level of the sentence), and thematic filling (level of the text), the article checks for the effect of experience in reporting. While novice reporters in general display more ‘conservative’ stylistic choices than experienced reporters, convergence takes place with time, as reports become more formal in the second cycle. At the level of structure of the text, the high rate of non-compliance of experienced reporters with the structural–thematic prescriptions is contrasted with the very good compliance of novice reporters. This finding, which is puzzling if genre competence is confused with perfect formal compliance with genre norm, may be explained by the difference in the meaning of monitoring for different states.