A now notorious study on same-sex marriage underscores a frequent newsroom reality: Political polling or a piece of academic research arrives and is by and large blindly passed along to readers, viewers and listeners.
If it’s seemingly headline grabbing, like the derided study on whether gay canvassers could change voters’ views in fundamental ways, the “news” value rises.
And in an era in which social media and competition make speed the frequent priority, there can be more of a chance that bad research is transmitted without much double-checking of methodology. Most newsrooms simply aren’t equipped to scrupulously double-check, and often not inclined if the origin of the research seems to be a reputable organization or individual.
“It’s a huge concern,” Bill Marimow, editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter, told me. Read more