Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poll Problems

So here's the story: The Daily Kos, a liberal political blog, had contracted with Research 2000, a Maryland-based research firm, to provide polling data. According to a statistical analysis, the polling numbers provided to Daily Kos were bogus. In fact, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas writes, "I have just published a report by three statistics wizards showing, quite convincingly, that the weekly Research 2000 State of the Nation poll we ran the past year and a half was likely bunk."

You might be wondering what the big deal is here. Organizations sue one another for fraud and breach of contract all the time, right? Well Research 2000's poll numbers didn't just exist on this one blog. News outlets such as KCCI-TV in Iowa, WCAX-TV in Vermont, WISC-TV in Wisconsin, WKYT-TV in Kentucky, Lee Enterprises, the Concord Monitor, The Florida Times-Union, WSBT-TV/WISH-TV/WANE-TV in Indiana, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Bergen Record, and the Reno Gazette-Journal were among Research 2000's clients.

I agree with the Washington Post's Plum Line blog that "this is likely to prompt a serious discussion about whether news orgs should be doing more to vet the polling they commission or publish." I also think it's a shame that it takes a scandal like this to prompt such an important discussion in news...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CNN cuts AP

When I first read a story earlier this week that CNN would no longer be using Associated Press (AP) coverage in favor of their own news gathering operations, I was shocked. After all it seems like every time I go to a news website or pick up a paper, it's an AP story that I'm reading. Also, setting up a news-gathering organization is expensive and producing news isn't getting any cheaper these days! But as a I read and thought more about it, I came to realize that actually CNN might be making a good business move here. It seems that more and more financially strapped news outlets are upset with the AP's fees and CNN is hoping to be a competitor with the AP. Maybe local papers in the future will at least have more varied wire content...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Government & Journalism - Should They Mix?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken on the task of studying how to fix journalism and they released a draft of possible recommendations for discussion.

As noted in an article in the New York Times, the suggestions in this document have come under intense scrutiny. Some conservatives have voiced concern over the possibility of a "Drudge Tax" which would charge news aggregators fees for reproducing content. Other concerns focus on a larger question: Should government be thinking about ways to fix journalism in the first place? What role should government play when an industry, particularly one that is important to democracy, is economically sinking?

So what do you think? Is the FTC on the right path or are they way off base?

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Help Guides Portal at Cook Library!

Thanks to some of our fabulous emerging technologies librarians here at Cook Library, we have a new Help Guides Portal.

Once in the portal, you can get to the guides either by searching or browsing by category. The portal also has sections at the bottom of the page listing the most popular guides and the guides that will help you get started in the library.

So whether you need help with APA citations, or you aren't sure how to make sense of that chart in MRI+, you can find a guide that will give you some answers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


When you were creating an advertising or media campaign, did you ever come across the Nielsen Prizm market segments and wonder what the heck they were? What exactly makes "The Cosmopolitans" different from "Up-and-Comers," anyway?

On the MyBestSegments website you can get the definition of each of the 66 Prizm segments including where each segment is likely to shop and what each segment is likely to drive. Also, you can get basic information on what segments make up a particular zip code. To top that off, each of these components is free!