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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

LETTER: Mens Fencing team Biography errors

Published: September 16, 2005
Section: Opinions

To the Editor:

I was raised by two journalists, my father an anthologized sports writer and my mother a political correspondent for the Boston Phoenix, so I am well aquatinted with the pressure that a journalist experiences while under deadline. So, I applaud your sense of journalistic responsibility to your peers and the Brandeis community as a whole. That being said, I am upset to say that the sloppiness of your papers reporting became so apparent that I felt I would be remiss if I did not address it.

I am the Assistant Captain of the Mens Fencing team here at Brandeis and when I saw that David Ostrowsky had written a farewell piece to last years senior athletes in your September 2nd issue, I naturally skipped directly to the section dedicated to my former teammates. I might have been able to abide by Mr. Ostrowskys overall ignorance of the sport he is reporting on, if he hadnt made even worse errors in his biographies of the people he was reporting on. Mr. Ostrowsky made glaring errors in his biography of former team member Meredith Freedman. In the biography Mr. Ostrowsky writes, This past February 10th Freedman along with teammates Liesse Slemon and Christina Morra, were honored as UAA womens fencing Athletes of the week.

The event that Mr.Ostrowsky is writing about actually took place two years ago at Duke University not last February. While this could be an honest mistake, if Mr. Ostrowsky had looked on the Brandeis Fencing team schedule he would have found that we did not go to the Duke Invitational this past season. And if he had talked to anyone on the team, i.e. done reporting, he would have found that his information was wrong because Liesse Slemon suffered a season ending injury in fall while playing rugby and Christina Morra transferred in December. Unfortunately this was not the last in Mr. Ostrowskys line of errors.

The most egregious of all his errors was his wishing a fond farewell to Jeremy Simpson, this years and lasts mens team captain. Now I understand that Jeremy was listed on the team website accidentally as a senior. There is no excuse for Mr. Ostrowsky to make for such a horrendous error other than sloppy and lazy reporting.

I was offended by this article not just as a member of the Brandeis Fencing team but as a member of the Brandeis community. I expect anyone who agrees to become a journalist to at least strive to be a responsible one. And Mr. Ostrowsky, who is apparently your sports editor, has shown me no signs of that in his journalism. He may believe fencing to be below his personal attention but he is gravely mistaken if he believes it below his professional.
Brendan Doris-Pierce 07

Editors Note: The writer is reffering to several errors in several paragraphs written about the Fencing Team. The Hoot regrets providing the wrong date of a tournament which actually occured in 2004 rather than this past season. Also, The Hoot regrets getting the class year wrong of one of the players for which The Hoot relied on the Brandeis Athletics page.