Wednesday, August 9, 2017

UGA's Collegiate Readership Program

So I was leaving the journalism building a week or so ago and noticed this.

That blank spot is where the newspaper rack sat that gave students access to the NYTimes, the Athens Banner-Herald, etc., through the Collegiate Readership Program paid for, at UGA, by the SGA via student fees. You could swipe your card, get a paper, or often as not just open the rack as it was often busted. In full disclosure, I already get the papers on my iPad, so I didn't take the physical copies. Anyway, the rack is gone, and I looked at Tate and it's gone from there as well. So, me being me, I asked what's up. By email, to the SGA. Here's the response I got today:

Hi Barry,

The physical boxes around campus are gone, but we have an exciting new update about the readership program coming soon (hopefully early next week). Stay tuned on our social media to get the fastest update!


Student Government Association
The University of Georgia
102 Tate Student Center

Odds are it's part of some app or online rather than physical paper. Some of that can be done now, as you can tell from the SGA's info about the program, lifted and pasted below.

For nearly 10 years, SGA has sponsored the New York Times/USA Today Collegiate Readership program, which provides students with free access to several national and local newspapers, including the New York Times, USA Today and the Athens-Banner Herald. Paper bins are in convenient locations across campus and in residence halls. In order to access the bins, students need only to insert their UGA ID card into the reader display, opening the door and allowing them to take a paper. 

Since 2012, students have also been granted access to free web and app passes. Students go and sign up and then they are able to log in as often as every 24 hours to claim a pass. The number of passes allocated to the University is based on the number of physical papers students pick up out of the bins around campus, so as the Collegiate Readership Program increases in popularity, online access increases for all UGA students. 

Monday, August 7, 2017


I'm working with the 2016 ANES data on something completely different and came across a question asking respondents:

How many guns do you or anyone else living here own?

For the same of full transparency, I'd answer one. I've had it for years.

The data is fascinating. Nearly two-thirds of 3,468 respondents who answered the question answered zero (actually, 65.7 percent). That means everyone else has a gun, but how many? Like me, more answered one gun than any other response (10.2 percent), followed by two guns (7.3 percent), and so on. Like a lot of surveys, you get weird answers as well. Two people said they own 50 guns and one person reported owning 99 guns. That's a lot of guns, except I'm willing to bet it was a survey response tossed off with little or no thought. I suspect they own a lot, but even to me 99 seems unlikely. Twenty, yeah. Ninety-nine? Not so much.

For fun, let's treat this question as an interval-level variable and correlate it with certain other variables. You know, stuff like age, education, and political ideology. Below are some results.

  • Education: unrelated to how many guns you own
  • Slight positive relationship, older equals more guns. Barely.
  • Same as above for income. There, but not strong.
  • The more you identify with the GOP, the more guns ya own.
  • Ditto to above for being more conservative.
We could go on and on with this, correlating this with a jillion variables available in the data, but I doubt we'd be surprised by the basic results. There was also a slight positive relationship with how many guns you own and how satisfied you are with democracy (r = .04, p<.01) and how fair you felt the 2016 election was (r = .07, p<.001). That's comforting, knowing the gun fans are happy.

From a media standpoint, it's no surprise that there's a small but significant correlation between how many guns you own and watching Fox News hosts Sean Hannity (r=.08, p<.001) and Bill O'Reilly (still on the air in '16, r = .09, p<.001). No relationship with watching Anderson Cooper or Chris Matthews.

A more useful analysis, to be honest, is recoding that gun question so it has two levels -- don't own a gun, or do. Really the number of guns measures those who hunt, in which it's not unusual to have several guns depending on the kind of hunting you're doing at that time.

Friday, August 4, 2017

UGA Vendor Payments

Friday afternoons are for doing stuff I shouldn't be doing and not doing the stuff I should be doing. In other words, I'm playing around with data -- this time UGA data on payments it made to various vendors. And by various, I mean 27,196 vendors listed in the 2016 fiscal year (data for the 2017 fiscal year, which ended in June, isn't available yet). There's not much here, just the name of the vendor, the total payment for the fiscal year, and the number of payments made. With no explanation whatsoever, here are the Top Ten and their amounts. I'll comment briefly below the list. Numbers are rounded to preserve my sanity.
  1. UGA Payroll ($931.9 million)
  2. Bank of America ($27.0 million)
  3. Georgia Power Company ($19.2 million)
  4. Office of the State Treasurer ($13.0 million)
  5. UGA Research Foundation ($12.3 million)
  6. UGAREF O'Malley's Building LLC ($11.9 million)
  7. AJAX Building Corporation of Georgia ($8.1 million)
  8. EBSCO Media ($8.0 million)
  9. Fisher Scientific Co. LLC ($7.5 million)
  10. UGAREF East Campus Housing LLC ($7.0 million)
A few notes about above. Payroll is #1, that's no surprise, and a lot of the others appear to be construction costs or payments to to the research foundation or for the electricity that keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Fun things I found. Jittery Joe's received a $68,799.86 payment. I'm a fan. You can't pay them enough. Chick-fil-A got $112,157.36. Oh, and for you chip lovers out there, $155,956.76 was paid to Frito Lay. With so many payments, a lot of them are weird looking but normal stuff for a university this size. Here's one -- Versus Spa. That one got my journalism spidey senses tingling but it turns out that $114,864.90 went to a routine company that has nothing to do with spas. Oh, and Homeland Security received $110,235 from us. No idea why. 

Yes, I checked for myself. I'm not in there, though there are a lot of individuals listed, mostly small amounts.