Tracking ISU and U.S. Figure Skating Events, Issues and Governance
Commentary – by Peter Murray
Everyone in the online skating community learned today that Jennifer Kirk and David Lease (who produce The Skating Lesson, available via their Youtube channel) were denied credentials to cover the 2013 International U.S. Figure Skating Classic. They have arranged numerous interviews with skaters, and are traveling to Salt Lake City regardless.
I have in my previous working life worked as a credentialed journalist for local media outlets and doing reports for Stars and Stripes in the Navy. That was a world ago long before social media horned in on the so-called main stream. I am well aware that U.S. Figure Skating spends much time and attention with the athletes preparing them on what to do and say around and in response to media queries. It’s a proper and a wise thing to do.
However, If U.S. Figure Skating is completely earnest in it’s desire to “Grow the Sport” and “Put more eyeballs in seats” and “Viewers watching on Online and eventually on television” then leaders of USFS must learn to adapt and utilize those credible online social media sources to help spread skating in a good light. Part of that good light is doing what the mainstream media either doesn’t have the time or desire to do… present our Athletes as just that -Athletes; hard working, intelligent and yes, often funny young Americans coached to the highest levels of the sport, utilizing their extraordinary talents.
Jennifer Kirk and David Lease are not in the “Gotcha” business. They are in the “Do you get it about our sport” business of informing and bringing a larger than life characterization of those who present the sport… the Skaters. They have shown through their already numerous interviews with current and past skating greats, athletes, coaches and folks on the technical side, the larger than life personalities of them all. Why is U.S. Figure Skating so reluctant to utilize those who can and should be helping to spread the news that Skating is Great and if you’re not watching and becoming a skating fan, you are missing out!
I will continue to support skating but it’s time for skating’s leadership to open their eyes and minds and make use of those who are on your side.
There IS room for Jenny and David and using that as a reason for denying credentials for me is just an old and tired excuse for “we don’t want your presence.” I am extremely disappointed in U.S. Figure Skating for this response. Please rethink your view of social media and update your media coverage policies. It’s long overdue!