Statement on Dramafest Review
Raffles Press reviews school concerts and productions because we value the hard work performers have invested. We believe the outcomes of their efforts deserve a full airing to the wider school community.
As one of the highlights of the school calendar, Dramafest is no different. We provided in-depth coverage of the event this year because we wanted to acknowledge the talent and commitment of our budding actors and directors.
We recognize that no article can satisfy everyone and accept that sometimes, we will have to agree to disagree with our readers. However, in view of the strong sentiments expressed on the objectivity of the reviewers, we convened a fact-finding exercise to determine the circumstances leading up to the publication of the review.
Unfortunately, one of the reviewers had a conflict of interest with Hadley-Hullett House. We were not aware of the nature and extent of his involvement, and regret that this occurred. He has apologized to us for failing to declare this conflict. We will introduce measures to ensure this does not happen again.
Having said that, it should be noted that the review was jointly written by two reviewers, and was vetted by three independent senior editors. We felt that the review itself was well-written and substantiated with relevant factual detail. As part of the fact-finding exercise, we re-examined the article and circulated it to external parties who generally reached the same conclusion. While even we ourselves might disagree with views expressed in the article, we must respect the reasoned opinions of the reviewers – which in themselves are not meant to be conclusive pronouncements, but food for thought for the reader. Reviewing is a fundamentally subjective exercise and not an exact science.
However, we accept that more could have been done to moderate the tone of the article, given that Dramafest is an amateur production put together by 17- and 18- year-olds under intense constraints. This is, of course, a matter of writing style and editorial judgment, and something which we will take into account in future reviews. We would also like to emphasize that there is more than one good way to write a review.
Following the publication of the article, one of the reviewers made specific comments online which were inappropriate, especially those pertaining to judges. We have counselled the reviewer and highlighted the gravity of his actions. As such, he has apologized in his personal capacity – both publicly and to the parties involved.
Separately, we have been in touch with Dramafest Chief Judge, Mrs Nicola Perry, and Hadley-Hullett House Captain, Jonathan Kit. We have sought their input and have resolved this matter amicably.
We appreciate the feedback we have received, and are heartened by how passionately the community feels about both Dramafest and Raffles Press. Where we have fallen short, we will improve. We look forward to closing this chapter and moving on, so that we can continue to serve our readers and the wider school community.
CHUA JUN YAN
REGINA MARIE LEE
Secretary and Publicity Officer