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  • Rachel Burchfield

What’s my favorite part of the Sussexes’ new working model?


If you haven’t gone and taken a hard look at the new Sussex Royal website, you should. Click here.

My key takeaways mostly revolve around their updated media policy, which I’ll get to in a second. The website does a deep dive into funding (which I talked about on the blog last week – totally worth checking this out) as well as the work Harry and Meghan will be doing going forward, both with the monarchy and just within Sussex Royal. (By the way, jury is still out as to whether the name Sussex Royal will get to stick around. It’s currently being held up in trademarking, for obvious reasons.)

Harry’s work is divided into two major categories: Environmental well-being and societal well-being. Working with the environment, Harry will specifically zoom in on protecting Africa’s ecosystems, regenerating the health of our planet, and redefining the tourism industry. For society, Harry will focus on supporting mental wellness, combatting the HIV crisis, working with the Armed Forces, and using sport for social development.

Meghan’s work will center around, not at all surprisingly, empowerment of women and girls, and will focus on three categories: Grassroots female empowerment, girls’ education, and encouraging young women to fulfill their potential.

It looks like the two will continue to work with their patronages and, of course, will add other work alongside all of this.

But the biggest change – and a huge catalyst for their split from the Royal Family – is their adopted media policy. I kind of love this new media policy because I hope I am one of the “young, up-and-coming journalists” they work with. Which, you know, has a 1 percent chance of happening, but I’ll hold on to my 1 percent chance.

Under the Sussexes’ new working model, they’ll no longer play ball with the Royal Rota system. What is the Royal Rota? According to the site:

The Royal Rota was established more than 40 years ago as a way of giving UK print and broadcast media exclusive inside access to the official engagements of members of 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. The current system predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age. The core group of UK outlets with Royal Rota access remain the predominant news source through which worldwide media organisations receive content on the official engagements of members of the Royal Family. These UK media outlets are: The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sun.

So, basically, if you work for one of these publications, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re shut out. These seven publications control the narrative, and, at least when it comes to the Sussexes, it has been patently negative.

Now, the Sussexes say, they’ll work with grassroots journalists (again – I would like to volunteer myself) to open the pool to a wider berth so different, more inclusive stories may be told. I will say, having the same seven publications tell the same story over and over and over again is dull as watching paint dry, and as a journalist I love this media policy. The policy also will invite media to events whose specialty is in that field, i.e. a sports journalist will be invited to cover Harry’s work with the Invictus Games, for example. Only credible and objective media outlets need apply – no more tabloids! – and there will be a wider and more accessible swath of coverage.

I am totally here for this!

Maybe it’s just because I’m a journalist, but the new media policy is the most fascinating part of the new Sussex Royal site to me. Make sure to check it out, because, like it or not, these two are making Royal history.

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