The future of royal reporting has come under discussion as younger audiences, particularly Gen Z, show less interest in the personal lives of the monarchy and more in the institution as a whole, according to a panel at the Society of Editors’ Media Freedom Conference.
Sophie Peachey, a journalist with the News Movement, warned that the royal family’s mystique could be diminished and equated to the Kardashians by Gen Z audiences if the coverage continues to focus on personal aspects. The News Movement has experienced significant engagement with content that explores broader questions about the monarchy and its future.
Roya Nikkhah, royal editor of The Sunday Times, acknowledged the royal family’s concerns about maintaining relevance among younger generations and the challenges of reaching these audiences. Nikkhah defended the royal rota system, through which news organizations gain access to royal events and receive briefings, arguing that it is not as sinister as critics like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle suggest, but rather a common practice in journalism.
Catherine Mayer, author of a biography on Prince Charles, supported some of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s criticisms of UK royal reporting, highlighting instances of racism and misogyny in the media coverage of Meghan Markle. However, Russell Myers, associate editor of the Daily Mirror, claimed that initial reporting on Meghan and Harry as a couple was overwhelmingly positive, suggesting a more nuanced perspective on the media’s role in shaping public opinion about the royals.