Thursday, 18 November 2010

Lessons Learned?

As we head towards the end of the week, the news is still carrying speculation and supposition about a certain royal wedding. If there is anything that the media love most then it has to be a royal event - weddings especially.

Everything looks perfect, including the bride to be herself, and already that horrible pedestal building word 'fairytale' has been used more than once by certain sections of the media. If the lessons of Diana were learned over the last decade then it is now that they should hopefully come into play. The question is can the media regulate and control itself? Based on previous experience i doubt that. Back in the medieval era, king. queens and princes faced vast armies that would lay siege to their castles. Are we about to see the start of a modern day equivalent of that?  Is the medieval era trebuchet to be replaced by the 21st century Digital SLR? Has the vast armies of knights been replaced by a vast army of paparazzi, TV crews and reporters?  I don't know, but if photographs of the couple are worth good money that must increase the potential for intrusive behaviour from the media - especially those who are freelance and are after a great scoop that makes them big money.

Over three years ago, on the tenth anniversary of Diana's death, i wrote on the blog about what lessons I thought had been learned by all concerned. Much of what i wrote i still believe is relevant on hearing this week's news. I came to the conclusion back then that memories of Diana's stalking by the media were starting to fade quickly. The British media were returning to their old 'build em up... knock em down' ways. The British magazine buying public were (and still are) demanding increasingly more and more news about public figures - at the time I was writing that post in 2007, Kate Middleton had been met by fifty photographers outside her home after the news of her breakup from Prince William had been released. All fifty snappers were supplying someone with images. I also mentioned the public who love to buy the magazines that feature the top public figures stories and photographs. Diana sold and still sells magazines. LOTS of magazines! Kate Middleton will sell magazines. LOTS of magazines! The parallels between Kate and Diana are obvious, and the business markets for those photographs is bigger than ever.

The market for royal images versus the right to privacy is the big question never really answered after Diana's death. Will the market's demand for images of Kate take priority over other matters? We'll have to wait and see but Kate Middleton certainly looks like a tempting target for an increasingly intrusive and unrelenting media for many years to come.

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