- In the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle resigning as senior members of the Royal Family, their updated website has some very revealing changes to their media policy moving forward.
- The Sussexes will no longer participate in the rota system of providing insider access to prominent British publications.
- They will instead work with different media organizations and share information directly with the public.
If you're just joining us, welcome to Holy Crap Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Kinda Quit the Royal Family 2020. Their official website has already been updated, and if you look carefully, they're taking a drastically different approach to their media coverage going forward. And it is a huge snub to certain outlets, some of whom they happen to be suing.
To summarize, they are "amending" their media relations policy in order to "share information more freely with members of the public." In a nutshell, they will no longer work exclusively with British royal reporters for coverage (as has been done in the past) and will communicate with diverse media outlets and share information directly with the public. Starting in the spring, the couple aim to, per their website:
- "Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;
- Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;
- Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events;
- Continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels;
- No longer participate in the Royal Rota system."
What is the rota system, you may ask? It's a 40-year-old system by which UK print and broadcast media were given advanced access to the Royal Family. "Under this system, the rota, or pool, gives these British media representatives the opportunity to exclusively cover an event, on the understanding that they will share factual material obtained with other members of their sector who request it," explains the site. "The current system predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age."
The site goes on to list the core UK outlets that make up the sources in the rota, which in turn is the main source of royal news: "The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun." The Sussexes go on to say:
Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting. Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.
Both the Sussexes have expressed their worry and dismay over breaches of privacy from some of these outlets in the past. Harry has commented that it was this kind of invasive coverage that played a role in his mother's death, so this move is highly symbolic for the couple—not to mention a huge change for the Royal Family media coverage.
And then there's this: "The Duke and Duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance," That's clearly a dig at the British tabloids, which Harry and Meghan have publicly criticized for discriminatory and inaccurate reporting (they're also suing British tabloid The Daily Mail).
The duo referenced their work with Time, Nat Geo, The Daily Telegraph, and British Vogue as examples of successful collaborations. They also said they welcome accurate reporting, but that "[e]qually, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family."
They will still have social media (and by breaking with the rota system, they will be able to share photos without having to share them with British news outlets), and will still continue to interact with the public via their new charitable entity:
So, yeah. WOW.
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