U.S. media adores royal wedding


The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was held on May 19 and was covered by many local and national news stations including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and The Washington Post to name a few.

Harry, member of the British royal family, took the hand of former American actress, Meghan Markle, in marriage. Because of her background, broadcast and print journalists repetitively stressed how rare this union of marriage was for the British monarchy. Not only is Meghan an American actress, but is also a bi-racial divorcee. American news stations used the wedding as a symbolic gesture of acceptance and unity between both countries. More importantly, the wedding was seen as a progressive footprint in the monarchy’s past customs.

CBS, out of all the different networks, was the one that seemed to be the most uninformed and over-the-top. The voice overs for the b-roll were obvious narrations of things that were going on within the footage. Ex: “Here she is walking down the aisle.” No extra information was given that couldn’t already be known from what was playing on the screen. In addition, they had trouble informing their viewers on who designed the wedding dress, as well as some other basic facts that could’ve been checked before air-time.

The media was heavily focused on who the attendees were and what they were wearing. The reporters on CBS even singled out which attendees were “A-listers” and “B-listers.” I would’ve liked to have seen the media cover more information about why this was such a prominent moment in British history or even how it was relevant to the rest of the world.

When I think of news, I think of the words prominence, relevance, impact and timeliness. The news outlets I tuned into had most of these characteristics, but they seemed to lack enough impact and relevance which led me to categorize this event as nothing but entertainment news.

As for ABC, I found them to be more informed and concise than any other station. Aside from the usual on-air fluff and filler comments, they used historical references to inform viewers on family ties. ABC attempted to cover possible questions viewers may have while tuning into the wedding. Who is Prince Harry? Who did he descend from? What is the Windsor Castle and why is it so important?

ABC used graphics and maps to show us where the castle was in relation to the church, the routes where the parade was held, etc. For those who have never visited England, this was a good addition to the segment.

ABC called on correspondents like Paula Feris, Lloyd Webber, and interviewed Andrew Morton (a royal biographer who studied Diana and Meghan Markel). They had informants, numerous sources to back up their information, and compelling historical facts.

I was also surprised at the amount of hype our local stations put out before and during the wedding. South Florida stations were broadcasting the wedding and commentating in re-decorated newsrooms resembling customary British tea parties.

Local business and bars were celebrating, movie theaters opened early to air the wedding on their screens, and tea shops were selling Prince Harry and Meghan Markel memorbilia. Aside from the media, businesses were using this event as a way to reel in the public. The sad part is that it seemed to work! Even the media covered these local events (see media below).

Overall, media coverage of the Royal Wedding was marked by fascination, criticism, speculation and an exaggerated level of significance. This event had some journalists reporting with disparity trying to pump out as much nonsense as possible. At this point, it is safe to say that the media (at all levels) will report on just about anything that will increase ratings and readership.