Monday, March 16, 2009

Lying with Statistics - Why All Newspapers Will Be Bankrupt Soon

The February RMLS report was released a few days ago, and this is how the Oregonian reported it:
"The good news: Home sales up in metro area"
Jeff Manning starts the article with "Closings jump 17.1% in a month" and of course the headline is skewed to be positive. To be fair he does talk about the fact that closed sales are DOWN 38.1% from Feb. 08.

That's the real news. Closed sales are way down, and don't show any sign of increasing. The increase from January is meaningless, and Jeff should know this.

Real estate sales are seasonal, so comparing month to month variations are meaningless. Of course sales were up in February, they always are. That's not news.

So then why report it? Is it because the Oregonian is heavily reliant on ad revenue from the Real Estate industry, and is afraid of offending them?

I can only assume so.

Frankly, the need to pander to advertisers is why I have lost all respect for serious newspapers. Bloggers might not always get it right, but you can be sure that I don't have any hidden agendas or advertisers that I need to protect.

I honestly believe that most newspapers will be gone soon (as do others) and I can't say I'll miss them. I don't trust much of what I read these days (certainly not on Fox, but also on the mainstream outlets) as most papers are too tied to their advertisers to be neutral.

The Oregonian's web site is also a joke. I can rarely find articles that are in the print section, the front page is a mess, there is no structure, content is hard to find, it's just sad and pathetic all around.

I'll post more about the results later.

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bearlee said...

Seattle Post-Intelligencer prints its last edition Tuesday and will be only available online. Olympia and Tacoma just laid off a 'few' folks.

I agree, the O-live is a joke. I try to search for recent articles and can never find them. How hard can it be to copy someone's site like the NYTimes or WSJ?!?!?!

Regarding KATU and KGW online I find it rather annoying to view week old news still on their 'front page'.

OK, done bitchin'.

Anonymous said...

The O is clearly living on borrowed time... they've been bleeding staff, and most of what they print is a couple of days old. Their website is also a joke but in their defense, I've actually heard that they don't own it (it's owned by a separate company), and that is one big reason that not all the stories from the paper are available on the website. I think loosing papers is actually really sad, but when the product has been driven into the ground first, it's almost merciful to just end the pain...

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is hard to believe but outsources their web site to a 3rd party. I have stumbled upon the same awful circa-90's layout while surfing the news and hitting other cities. How expensive could it be to hire local computer science/software developers to put together a website? It's a damning and pathetic illustration of the Oregonian's lack of management vision and ignorance of Portland's unique talent and creativity.

Anonymous said...

Here is a city who also uses the Oregonian outsourced template: