Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sigh. More Bad Poll Stories


I've bitched about this a lot, most recently here, about bad use of poll data in a news story. Sorry, but I have to pick yet again on the students putting out the Grady NewSource broadcast/site. I'll keep pummeling them until they stop, much like I did The Red & Black many years ago when they fell into the SLOP trap.

If you visit the NewSource (buy an "s" dammit) site and click on this story, you get the following screen:

Click on the link to express your opinion and this comes up:

Allow me a few words from a j-prof who teaches writing with numbers, data journalism, and a graduate class in public opinion. Plus it's my blog, so I can say what I damn well please. Where do these issues come from? Why these five? What's missing?
Okay, so you choose the issue that concerns you the most and when ya finish, there's this page (see below). Notice the "Submit another response?" Yes, that's right. They're encouraging people to vote again and again and again, bringing fresh meaning to the "vote early and often."

By the way, I've voted about 25 times so far. Just to make a point.

It's okay to run these SLOPs for fun, but it's never okay to run their results in a news story. But if you do (and you shouldn't. ever), you should preface them by noting the results are non-scientific and complete bullshit, but we're going to take up precious broadcast time anyway reporting them.

Will I ever stop complaining about this? Sure. When they stop running these polls and reporting the results as if they're news. They're not.


A tweet went out moments ago giving the link to the poll results so far. See the image below.

Here's the bad news. At least 25 of those 38 responses for "Government Reform," they're from me. Over and over and over again. I kinda lost count. They may all be mine.

Why would I do this? To make a point, that you're over-reporting complete bullshit as news. Do. Not. Do. This.

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