Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Latest Poynter Survey

Like making soup, making a good survey often depends on the ingredients.

The latest Poynter survey that compares the attitudes of educators, professionals (managers), and j-students has some interesting findings. Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, is in how important educators and students see multimedia skills compared to the pros. Below is the key graph:

What explains this gap? Pros not getting it? Educators getting it too much?

Hint: it's what you put in the soup. Or in this case, the survey.

The Poynter survey, useful as it is, rests not on a random sample but instead on those who chose to participate. I know. I participated. I may have participated twice. Regardless, you're talking about a biased sample. And while it's true you can get decent results from biased surveys, that requires sophisticated weighting and statistical correcting to make it work well. That's not the case here.

So, are the results real or a function of the sample? It's hard to say. Do the results in the graphic above make sense on their face? Not really. What kind of pros answer a Poynter survey, and are they representative of all pros? And educators, how about them? Representative? I'm guessing not so much in either case, but in general the results tend to track one another. Managers and educators often agreed in their priorities of key journalistic skills, such as the importance of accuracy curiosity. That's comforting.

The takeaway from all this? I don't have one yet. I want to read carefully the full report.

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