Baby Ballerinas of Ice Skating
Perhaps you follow the ice skating circuit of pre-Olympic style competitions that ranks the most proficient figure skaters in America and in the world. Perhaps you were tuning in during the 2000 season when a group of young skaters decided to leave the junior competitions early to try their luck on the senior circuit. These included female skaters like Michelle Kwan, Sasha Cohen, Tara Lipinski and Sarah Hughes. They were only 12 and 13 and they had already conquered triple axles and double loops, and more. They were so tiny and light that they flew through the air like baby birds.
“But the big story was the baby ballerinas, as Dick Button so playfully called the bumper crop of pre-pubescent skaters who stormed onto the national scene on the ABC broadcast. Five of the junior ladies from the 1999 Championships, including the four medalists, qualified for the senior ladies competition, and each were looking to make a name for herself against the reigning queen of U.S. Figure Skating.”
(This article has a list of the ‘baby ballerinas’.)
Baby Ballerinas of Journalism
So what, you might say. The baby ballerinas are old news. What does ice skating have to do with journalism anyway? But during the 2016 election campaign we met a trio of ‘baby ballerina’ journalists. Of course they weren’t 12 or 13, but they seemed so young and fresh as they did on-site reporting and traveled along with the campaigns. Sadly most of the baby ballerinas of ice skating fizzled out rather early, except of course Michelle Kwan who was amazing, and Tara Lipinski who also was an award winner. (There is not total agreement about who actually was in the group of ‘baby ballerinas’.).
But fizzling out is not what has happened to the baby ballerina journalists: Katy Tur, Hallie Jackson, and Kasie Hunt. In 2019 each of these three poised young women now has a show of her own on MSNBC. They each have married. Katy Tur will soon have a baby and at least one of these young ladies has already gone through a divorce. Their youth, confidence, comfort with broadcast news, and their energy has allowed these three young women to rise quickly through the ranks. These qualities also make them valuable subs for more established news figures on the network, which helps keep them popular with veteran news commentators. It has been interesting to watch the steep trajectories of their careers since the bad old days of the 2016 election campaign (it was a tough campaign). Hopefully they will not share the fate of some of the precocious baby ballerinas of ice skating, but will enjoy long and illustrious careers in journalism, something that is not at all guaranteed these days.
Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches: Ice Skater, Sarah Hughes, Journalists, in order, Katy Tur-Adweek, Hallie Jackson-Duke U., Kasie Hunt-YouTube