Letter to the Editor: Figuring out your review

To the editor:

I believe that the Record erred in publishing the article written by Nicole Smith ’14, managing editor, “Amateurs and veterans spin cinematic tales in ice show” (Feb. 27), regarding the Figure Skating Club, of which I am the social chair. First of all, we are a club sport as recognized by College Council, and therefore should not have reviews posted under the Arts section. When I reminded Record staff that figure skating is actually a sport, the response from the editor-in-ehief was: “I think we all know that your performance was not intended to be seen as such.” Her failure to properly classify this article is upsetting, not just because it means that the review may never have been composed, but especially when a big part of the Record’s philosophy involves journalistic integrity.

What does that actually mean? Well, in the case of reviews, I think it means that an author gives an honest opinion. No one is asking for reviews that are hard copies of Eph Compliments. However, a review can be critical without being unbalanced and negative without being unnecessarily, pointedly rude.

Unfortunately, I truly feel that Smith did a poor job of writing her article. It reads more like a complaint that she had to sit through such a performance than a proper review. We have never claimed to be a professional group but were judged as such. Smith needlessly hates on our less experienced skaters – some of whom got on the ice for their first time this year – by describing their acts as “regrettable performances” and the whole show as “mostly digestible.” Even when she compliments a skater, that only happens in comparison to how terribly others performed. This negativity not only brings down the beginners, but also detracts from the quality of the more advanced skaters’ performances.

Her poor taste regarding word choice makes the article come off as extremely rude, which I’m sure she never meant for it to be. Yet, in e-mails with the Record, we have not heard Smith say anything in defense of her article, nor any sort of apology for the hurt she has caused. I am very proud of our skaters for putting themselves out there and am disappointed in the Record for publishing such a snide, public mockery of what should have been a fun event, especially for the two seniors who founded this club.

You can’t complain when a non-professional performance looks unprofessional. Her criticisms are strange to me because she clearly recognizes that we’re not professional (see the first word of the article’s title), yet she objects to the presence of less skilled performers in complaining about how bad they were. I don’t think it’s fair to imply that the show shouldn’t exist in its current form, and I don’t think it’s right for the Record to post mocking articles like this that discourage people on this campus from being involved. Everyone recognizes the work that Smith puts into the Record, and we understand that there are very few people who do, but I would appreciate seeing a little more consideration.


Lily An ’15

Secretary, Figure Skating Club

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