Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Sand vs. Shark Study

Many outlets have picked up the story about sand being more deadly than sharks. For example, see the Daylife pages about it. Just about all of the headlines, and most of the stories themselves, focus on the fact that sand holes have killed more people than sharks over the same period of time.
Admittedly, this whole topic is silly.

However, focusing on sand being more deadly than sharks makes it even sillier.
  1. More people are around sand, during more times of the year, than are ever around sharks.
  2. Fine, sand is dangerous -- why not make that the focus of the story? If you don't think that the danger of sand is a big enough story on it's own, then comparing it to shark attacks barely masks that fact.
  3. The study being used as the foundation of the story is about the dangers of sand holes, not about the nondanger of shark attacks.
Note: Here's a link to an extract of the actual study, subscribers to the New England Journal of Medicine can see it in full here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reuters' Quirk

On the Reuters landing page, the following subcategories/subheadings are provided to ease navigation of their vast news collection:

1. Investing
2. Business
3. News

Number three really narrows it down...


Monday, June 11, 2007

French Socialists undone by family sparring

Says the London Times Online:
"The latest spat between Ms Royal, who lost the presidency to Mr Sarkozy last month, and Mr Hollande, her party leader and father of their four children, was too much for some Socialists who blamed them both for the party’s electoral misery."
The New York Times chose to focus more on fact, and little on backstory, offering this summary:
"The main opposition, the Socialist Party, received 24.73 percent, meaning that it could lose more than half of its 149 seats, pollsters projected. The result reinforced the disarray on the left since its presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, lost to Mr. Sarkozy last month."
Daylife has photos.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Jobless Claims: Fox vs. USA Today vs. Readers

Yesterday, the department of labor released their latest Unemployment Claims weekly report. This gives us a great opportunity to compare media coverage to direct source material.

From the report itself:
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 261,509 in the week ending June 2, a decrease of 12,407 from the previous week. There were 260,263 initial claims in the comparable week in 2006."
Fox News leads by saying:
"The number of U.S. workers signing up for unemployment aid edged down slightly last week, the Labor Department said on Thursday in a report underscoring stability in the labor market despite sluggish growth."

The USA Today also accentuated the positive by stating "the report suggest[ed] that the labor market remains healthy despite a slowdown in economic growth." Basically, the argument in both cases is that with fewer people filing claims, more people must be working, YAY!

So, who out there wants to take on the negative? Well, for one, the claim drop did not happen across the board, as "[t]he largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 26 were in Texas, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Indiana." Caveat: this list is based on the seasonally unadjusted data. The report also points out that more states had an increase of 1000 people filing claims, than did states having a decrease of 1000 people filing claims.

While it is true that the report basically paints a pretty picture, at least on a state-by-state basis, someone must highlight the negative.

I'm asking for your help. The Source Diverse readers generally have great suggestions. Can you dig up some articles which take the report and slant or highlight the negative? Hint: Try local papers. Double hint: Try local papers in Texas, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Indiana.

Or, can you form your own opinions of the report? In this day and age, where the public gets direct access, via the web, to this kind of source material there is no reason to just take what is written about the material as gospel. Dig in, get your hands dirty.

Enjoy your day.