The last thing I truly want to write about are the upcoming elections. Luckily, tomorrow is the day when voters go to the polls (okay, let’s face it, when a small percentage of eligible voters go to the polls) to cast their votes on who should be leading their local/state government. But while perusing CNN.com for the latest news to fill today’s “Wake Up, World” post, I came across an article that I couldn’t pass up critiquing.
1) The title caught my attention: CNN Poll: Those who say things going poorly higher than 1994 or 2006. I felt like I was right back in a classroom teaching intro to journalism: how to write headlines. Headlines should be catchy yet precise. This is neither.
2) Where is the image from that they are using as the main focus of the article? Does it even hold relevance to the poll or is it just a random stock photo they pulled because it deals with political candidates?
3) The article fails to provide the actual question asked in the poll, as well as listing possible choices for response. If the poll simply asked “how do you think things are going in America” with answer choices “well” or “poorly” (or the most likely worded as “good” or “bad”), it is no surprise that 75% of Americans picked poorly. There are always areas that need improvement, which most individuals will focus on. It isn’t going well if there is still something unsatisfying.
4) I feel like I shouldn’t even have to mention the gross statistical errors in data that occur through random polling, let alone a sample size that allows a mere 1,010 adults to represent a nation of over 300 million.
Come on CNN, where is the quality? This story resembles something thrown together by a hungover college student who realized (after spending the night dressed as Batman at the frat Halloween party) that his professor had set the deadline for an article at 8am the next morning. I expect quality news stories. I expect those stories to be well written, informative, and accurate. Lately, CNN has been disappointing me time and time again. If you are going to make claims, be sure that your data is enough to provide a firm base of support, and then set up the information in a way that convinces me there is some intelligence lurking inside. This just doesn’t cut it.