Today, the Daily Mail took one sentence out of a 45 minute podcast interview that one of our Editors, Christine, recently completed for the Royally Obsessed podcast and decided to write an article about it. The DM author took the words, twisted them to fit their own agenda, and the reactions started to pour in immediately from people wondering “WTF” had happened.
We’ve responded to much of it on social media, but there are several questions we received – very respectfully and fairly asked – which stuck out to us and that we wanted to reply to in more depth. So we thought we’d reply to some of the most popular questions we get here so that they are visible for everyone to see.
You’re white women, how can you articulate a black or bi-racial woman’s experience?
The short answer is this – we cannot. We don’t presume to be able to speak to anyone’s realities other than our own, and somedays this is tricky in and of itself. The fact that we can’t speak for Meghan, nor should we, is why we base all of our reporting on the blog on fashion related fact – and why we don’t publish opinion pieces or personal views on our Meghan’s Mirror platform.
Where we have injected some personal opinion is in longer format, contextualized interviews – like the Royally Obsessed podcast that triggered all of this. While we get and appreciate that anyone and everyone can listen (including DM reporters!), responsible journalism would not in our estimation take one line out of context and turn it into a story in a tabloid newspaper with a negative spin towards Meghan.
What will you do differently as a result of the article?
Is there room for us to improve? Always. We’d be lying if we said we were perfect (or even remotely close to it), and lying if we said that we’d not like to go back and edit some of the words that have come out of our mouths at some point in the last 7 years of blogging & interviews.
Our first reaction & action post-DM article was to immediately cancel all of our planned media commentaries. We cancelled several engagements we had been working on, but then realized that this is both not sustainable, and not realistic. We can absolutely choose who we provide commentary/interviews/information to, but we can’t control who sees and uses them in whatever format. Us doing interviews or providing comment is not the issue.
What is the issue is how those comments can be twisted out of context. So can we choose better words and phrases to express ourselves when speaking about Meghan? Yes. Can we improve the research we already do on the media outlet, purpose/angle of the story and outcomes before we commit? Yes. Can we try and be more understanding of how words could be taken out of context? Yes. Would any of these have changed what the Daily Mail wound up doing to the quote anyway? Maybe… We’re honestly not sure – but we do know this: We can’t control what the Daily Mail does. What we can control is removing links to their platform, not sharing content from it and ourselves not clicking on it. That we can do.
We have refrained from giving commentary to the Daily Mail and sharing their links in the past, but we have now started to ask the freelance journalists whom are writing stories exactly where they will be shared and in what way so we can know where our words will reach.
This also gives us an opportunity to share some things we have been thinking about separately. We have been looking at increasing the diversity within our team. While we write fact based material, having the viewpoints of people from all different backgrounds would be of benefit to our overall message of inclusion for all on our website. We are looking at how to best approach this.
Do you make money off of Meghan’s Mirror?
Yes. The answer is categorically, unequivocally and absolutely yes. We’d like to, however, point out a few things about running a legitimate blog that you may not have taken into account when you ask about why/how we monetize.
- It costs money to host the blog. We (very luckily) get such significant traffic spikes on days when Meghan has events that we have had to upgrade our servers so that the experience would not crash on visitors. Servers with dedicated IP addresses, firewalls and bandwidth capacity like the ones we have to keep Meghan’s Mirror up and running are not cheap.
- Using legitimate photographs on the blog is seriously expensive. The cost to license a photo can be anywhere up to $4,000 depending on the agency to use. We only use legitimate sources for photographs and we work with various agencies to fulfill our requirements.
- It costs money to protect the blog. We maintain malware protection to keep the blog running properly. We hire professionals to cleanup data to ensure we have no vulnerabilities in our code. This is also not free, and necessary to keep the website operational.
- We have a team of people who work on the blog that we pay in different capacities to help us provide the coverage that our readers have come to expect from us.
- We fund new initiatives for Meghan’s Mirror with the monetization. Things like funding the launch of our MirrorMeg product line, or using new online tools to better our user experience on the site.
- We support charity initiatives around the world. Sometimes we share them (i.e. donating portion of earnings from the blog to the Global Sussex Baby Shower) and sometimes we don’t (i.e. making charitable donations directly to causes that we – and the Sussexes – care about)
So to be perfectly clear, yes, we monetize the blog.
Do you know Meghan personally?
No. We do not.
What we do know is that we have been fans of hers since 2011 (!) when we first saw her on Suits. Our Editor Amanda was a fan of the Tig from day one and fell in love with her casual style from social media. We have interacted with Meghan on social media years ago through one of our subsidiary accounts, but that’s as close as it gets.
We have, however, met with many people who do know Meghan personally. We’ve met with friends, colleagues, shop owners, aestheticians… And coupled with 8+ years of following her and her style, we’re very familiar with Meghan. But that absolutely does not mean we can speak for her or know about her personal life. She maintains a private life, despite being now in a very public role, and we respect that.
But the article had words in it that you actually said?
If you listen to the entirety of the interview on the podcast, you can clearly tell in the 45 minute clip that Christine has not insinuated in any way any of the accusations launched against her or spoken about Meghan in any of the accused ways. Interviews are difficult, especially ones that are conversational because any one sentence uttered over a few seconds could be seen in a completely different light when reviewed in the context of the entirety of the content.
Do we wish we could go back and amend some of the words so that they could not be twisted and misconstrued? Sure. But we can’t. As we mentioned above, this has given us a new opportunity to pause and reflect on what we can learn going forward.
Why don’t you ‘defend’ Meghan?
This is a question that we’re honestly struggling to answer. Here is our dilemma – we’re a fashion blog who provides fashion & style commentary about the clothes and accessories Meghan chooses. On the other hand we’re huge advocates for the work Meghan does and are passionate about wanting women to be the best versions of themselves (whatever that is) they can be, much like Meghan is.
Perhaps in trying to “stick to our lane” with respect to fashion-only coverage we have led people to believe that we don’t care about Meghan the person when we see terrible things published about her. One commenter went so far as to say we were only in it to profit from her name. That couldn’t be any further from the truth, but we appreciate that it might appear that way. Where we struggle to find the right balance is if we dove into responding to every attack on Meghan and helping to promote those negative stories, we’d be forgetting the reason that people came to our blog in the first place – Meghan’s style.
So let us be 100% perfectly clear on this now. We support the Duchess of Sussex in every and all capacities that she chooses. We love following along with her love story, and yet we also celebrate the fabulous woman all on her own, without the need of a man or tiara. While we cover her fashion exclusively, we can perhaps look to be more involved in other ways as well. We’d love to hear your suggestions & feedback on this.
And feedback… Yes. We really, truly, honestly want it. We can’t learn and we can’t move forward and grow if we don’t get your constructive feedback! You can reach us in any of the following ways (or by leaving a comment below!)