Letter to the editor

Elana Widmann | Class of 2014

I think it’s safe to say I would not have been accepted into Washington University in St. Louis in March of 2010 had my personal essay contained as many “likes” as my interview in StudLife has.

What’s my point? Well, I’ll tell you.

Amanda Packer and I were asked by StudLife to do a Skype interview in the aftermath of the most recent Israel-Hamas conflict since we are studying abroad in Israel. Little did we know, we were being recorded for a verbatim Q&A.

I am incredibly disappointed that StudLife chose not to inform its interview subjects of the style of the interview and the formatting of the article. Amanda and I were under the impression that our Skype meeting with editor-in-chief Michael Tabb was a conversation in which he would get a feel of our situation and from there create an original piece using specific quotes. We were never informed that our conversation with Michael was being recorded word-for-word for a transcript that would be visible to the entire WUSTL community and beyond. Had we been informed of his intentions, we would have asked for some time to format our answers and slowly share our thoughts, enabling us to sound more professional and cohesive.

In particular, my recount of hearing the rocket in Tel Aviv and Amanda’s anecdote about her Shabbat dinner were two of many instances that were poorly captured because of the verbatim recording.

We agreed to do the interview to be helpful to StudLife and the Wash. U. community. We would have appreciated it if StudLife had given us the courtesy of informing us of its intentions.

The Q&A published by StudLife did not accurately capture the essence of our thoughts and anecdotes. Rather, the style and structure of “Voices from the Middle East” took attention away from what we wanted to share.

I look forward to my return to Wash. U. when Amanda and I can report in person about our experiences abroad in Israel.

I just want to, like, be able to share and, like, tell everything! Like, what do you all think?


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