Monday 3 January 2011

Media in labour over Mary - anatomy of a breaking story : yes! NO! ...relax

Photo © Keld Navntoft /Scanpix / TV2 No
According to Lene Balleby, the Royal family's communication director, there are no plans for inducing the birth of the Crown Princess' twins. "We will wait for the birth to begin in the natural way," she said. "It happens when it happens. It was also the case with Prince Christian and Princess Isabella", explains the Royal head of communications. But this statement follows a funny morning in the media...

Quote of the morning must go to Ulrik Ulriksen of Billed Bladet, via Politiken. The Billed Bladet journalist was on the spot outside the hospital after hearing the rumours about an imminent birth. At Rigshospitalet Ulrik Ulriksen wasn't confident that the birth would happen today, "I am 99 percent sure that it is not today. But because of the one percent, I am here," he explained.

So, there was a flurry of excitement in the past eight hours or so as B.T. published a story just after midnight saying that Crown Princess Mary was to be admitted to Rigshospitalet this morning Danish time to be induced. It is definitely not correct though, according to Court Communications Director Lene Balleby. TV2 followed with B.T.'s story but got the clarification from the Court early in the morning. B.T.'s and TV2's early reports were followed by The Copenhagen Post and TV2 in Norway. Extra Bladet published a story quoting B.T. at 1:36am. Later Extra Bladet was jubilant that B.T. was wrong and said so in its story at 8:31am, quoting Lene Balleby's statement to TV2. Confusing? It was just a lot of tail chasing which raised some expectation for a while until the story became clear.

Extra Bladet's later story (with three journalists on the job) published that : Mary's twins are coming, but exactly when is not yet known
Mary's twins come into the world on Monday morning - according to B.T. anyway.
B.T.'s story is based on 'independent sources'.
However, we show today that the Royal House is not one of those sources. The Royal House has rejected the story categorically.
Ekstra Bladet asked the Royal Family's press coordinator Lene Balleby for information about the artificially induced birth story.
When asked directly whether Mary's birth will be induced today - which B.T. claimed - there came a short but precise answer: 'No'.
The Crown Prince Couple have done everything they could to keep the timing of the twins' arrival secret, and Mary has previously expressed a wish that she will give birth naturally.
When Mary and Frederik announced on August 6 that they were expecting two babies it was with a very wide margin that the time of the birth was set.
'The birth is expected to take place at Rigshospitalet during the month of January 2011', it said.

Eventually the statement to TV2 went like this: "It is not correct. The Crown Princess is at home and not hospitalised," says Lene Balleby. "The Crown Princess has given birth naturally the last two times and that is the plan this time." She added however that time will tell, and the doctors must assess whether it will be necessary to induce the birth.

The stories saying yay:
B.T. 12:06
Extra Bladet 1:36am
The Copenhagen Post
TV2 No (Ritzau)

In the middle, neither yay nor nay:
TV2 7:34am (later updated) - originaly said the Court was silent about the birth and would neither confirm or deny the B.T. report. Now says Crown Princess Mary is at home.
TV2 No first published at 3:01am and later updated at 8:24am and 8:45am

The stories saying nay:
Extra Bladet 8:31
TV2 10:16
Politiken 10:25

Trying to extricate itself:
B.T. 12:56pm
Court will not deny that it is today
Mary's birth: it can be at any time
The Court will say neither one way or another whether Mary will give birth or, for that matter, not give birth. In other words: it can happen at any time.
Two independent sources told B.T. on Monday that Crown Princess Mary will probably be hospitalised and have an induced birth today at Rigshospitalet. One of the sources considered that it would be done in the morning.
Although B.T. had referred to the information as a rumour, both Danish and foreign newspapers reproduced the story that Mary is already hospitalised. It is not the case however, and the Court says cryptically "it happens, when it happens".
"I'm not talking about admission at a pre-determined time. This happens when it happens, as it was in the case with Prince Christian and Princess Isabella, both of whom were born by natural birth," says communications manager, Lene Balleby, to B.T.
The Court has previously stated terms such as 'in the middle of January' (not true B.T.! - just 'in January') and since twin births are normally two weeks before time, today not a impossible.
However, today and tomorrow Crown Prince Frederik participates in the Tuesday and Wednesday New Year Courts at Christiansborg Palace.
The Australian media believes, on the other hand, to know that it will be immediately after New Year, that is, Thursday January 6.

(Oh B.T. - that last bit is a shameless and very funny excuse - the Australian media knows even less than you do!)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best new years' present ever - the return of my favourite bloggers. You provide such great coverage of the Danish royals. Wonderful to see you back!

6:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the updates nice to see you back.
I am so excited about the twins I cannot wait.

11:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!
Thank you for coming back. I really miss reading all the information on Crown Princess Mary, and I greatly appreciate your work on this blog. Once again, thank you and wishing you a Happy New Year and a healthy and prosperous 2011.

6:09 pm  
Blogger lotte said...

Thank you all :))

I aim to keep going and spruce things up a bit too. But the main job here is to be a conduit for non Danish speakers to have a window on the Danish media... lots of news in the pipeline in coming days!

5:24 am  

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