In May 2015 when Princess Charlotte was born, I wrote an open letter to the media strongly suggesting that they simply report on the royal birth and not look for crazy, ‘different angles’ as a way of standing out from the crowd of royal stories.
Three years later, I still stand by that, because I’ve experienced first-hand what can go wrong when we try and push the boundaries.
I hadn’t returned to radio when I wrote that piece for Princess Charlotte’s birth, but I have now. I sit here finding myself in the same position that I did in 2012 when we considered it our ‘media duty’ to find a new and different way to report on the royal baby, who was then Prince George.
Now I’m back in radio and the impending royal birth is topical and everyone is talking about it.
In fact; a few minutes ago, my station 96.5 Wave FM in Wollongong, was offered an interview with Channel 7’s European Correspondent Hugh Whitfeld, who is actually now a friend of mine. We met when he interviewed me after the inquest into the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, which I attended in London.
This is an incredibly surreal and life changing moment for me. I responded that I felt uncomfortable talking about the royal birth on air… I felt almost as though I no longer had a right to do so.
But maybe it’s time to address that? Is this how I should feel forever? Should I always feel defined by that tragic prank call over five years ago?
If I’m feeling that way, I know that Jacintha’s family will feel that with every royal birth too, and I’m sure they are getting media requests to comment, just as I am.
Back in 2012, we brainstormed ideas just like we did every day. It was a simple idea that we’d attempted many times before, but this time it went horribly wrong.
We all know it was unforeseeable and no one could have predicted what would happen, but it did happen.
So, knowing that, what are you planning? Do you know how it will end? Do you know how it will make someone feel? Do you have the right people behind you making responsible decisions?
For me, I knew that prank wasn’t right, and I put suggestions forward that would have protected the nurses and hospital, but some things are out of your control.
- Inside the $12K-a-night ward where royal baby will be born
- Princess Charlotte to make history when royal baby is born
If you do work in the media, don’t ever be afraid to speak up. There are a couple of people that were involved in that situation who are still being reckless in the industry. Stop and think.
I’m not going to name and shame you, I just want you to be responsible and respectful today, don’t try and find that creative ‘angle’ just enjoy the royal birth.
This is a pivotal moment for me, I’ve learnt, and I’ve grown. Five years ago, I was a part of a culture where we HAD to be different. Not anymore. I’ve never been happier staying true to myself.