The importance of critique from a journalist

So, yes, now I critique. I do it without guilt or remorse, because I cannot praise unprofessionalism.

Sehrish Ali August 09, 2012
As a new art and culture reporter to the scene of journalism, I admit I was a little overwhelmed by the situation. Covering events on an almost daily basis, I would find myself writing long praises for the work, event, organisers, etc. It wasn’t long before my editors started pointing it out and stressed on the fact that I must critique.

At first, I felt this was unfair. Why critique the few people who bother to do something? Slowly and surely, I began to realise the real ‘culture’ of our society and only then did I learn the importance of critiquing.

It’s frustrating sometimes when you see brilliant people come together for an event and for it to fall flat simply because of the sab-chalta-hai attitude. A beautiful sketch will be hanging at an art exhibition but the artist will forget to neatly trim the sides from which the paper was torn. The lighting at photography exhibitions will be so bad that one can hardly tell what is in the photographs and the never-ending trend of things starting late, especially if there’s a chief guest involved. (You might as well bring your tent along and camp out).

Take the Islamabad Fashion Week, for example. Never have I been more disappointed in an event. None of the shows started on time, the music system kept incurring glitches, the ramp was too low for those people sitting far back to view the full length of the dresses worn by the models, people were constantly herded in and out of the hall like cattle, only to have to push and pull their way back in, and even then not find a place to sit. Many people were seen bullying their way to the front row creating a ruckus and an embarrassing situation for the young ushers. All of this could have been avoided with a little bit of management and professionalism.

So, yes, now I critique. I do it without guilt or remorse, for I feel that if I praise unprofessionalism, I’m only letting down those who actually make the effort of being on time and doing things right. There is no denying the talent we have in our country but until and unless we start getting our act together, we are never going to be taken seriously. For starters, let’s just be punctual!

 Read more by Sehrish here.
Sehrish Ali A Development Studies graduate from Iqra University, Islamabad, Sehrish works as a city reporter for art and culture Islamabad, and for life and style at The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.