Monday, August 29, 2016

New College Rankings

Yet another college rankings is out, though this one is different. Washington Monthly's methodology includes student outcomes you don't normally find in other rankings. Yes there's research rate and graduation rate, but also Peace Corps and community service, and salaries students make upon graduation.

Here's the link to the national university list. UGA, where I teach, is #55. Not terrible. Here's the list of SEC schools in order, with national ranking in parentheses:
  1. Texas A&M (6)
  2. Florida (18)
  3. Vanderbilt (22)
  4. UGA (55)
  5. Missouri (80)
  6. LSU (98)
  7. South Carolina (109)
  8. Auburn (139)
  9. Tennessee (172)
  10. Arkansas (208)
  11. Kentucky (216)
  12. Alabama (260)
That Bama ranking. Ouch. Just ouch. University of Alabama-Birmingham is #124, the highest in the state (best I can tell, just eyeballing the data). 

Revisiting Titular Colonicity

It was back in 2008 when I first wrote about titular colonicity, which isn't near as interesting as it sounds and has to do with the growing use of colons in academic titles, especially as a field matures or becomes more complex. I even did a quick-and-dirty analysis of my field's major journal, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. I've often considered a more formal analysis to submit to a journal, but I suspect it's such a navel gazing exercise that most would pass on publication. Here's the piece that created what's called the Dillion Hypothesis of Titular Colonicity. Always worth a look.

OK, fine Hollander, but why mention this today?

Because I stumbled on this abstract, which talks about the length of journal article titles but also, apparently, touches on titular colonicity. Unfortunately I don't have access to the entire piece (see also this recent analysis). I'd never heard of APA's recommended 12 words or less in an academic journal title. That's interesting (if you're a PhDweeb like me, at least).

So work continues to be done and I really really really should tackle a mass comm journal analysis of colons. Problem is, who the hell would publish it? Maybe as a conference paper. Yeah. Maybe. If nothing else it'd give me the opportunity to say "titular colonicity" in front of others. I'm not above such sophomoric enjoyment.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Ethics of ... Niagen?

I was discussing with students in class the other day the various journalism codes of ethics that exist, what they say, etc., when I pointed to this page via SPJ that provides a list of "Other Codes of Ethics (see left). Go ahead, visit the page. Click on the RTNDA code.

When you do, you get not exactly the most ethical of codes. It's an ad for niagen, some bogus supplement. What's fascinating is if you look at the URL, it's on the RTNDA server. The url is: If you visit the legitimate RTNDA site and click ethics, it takes you to the real code. How someone managed to plant this bogus supplement ad on the RTNDA site, I'll never know. And why SPJ refers to it, I'll never know either.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

UGA Football Parking Tix

Updated Info Below

It's coming up on UGA football season again (Go Dawgs). As I play with data from all parking tickets written on campus last academic year, it makes sense to look specifically at football parking violations. Here's the short answer -- there were 133 tickets (out of 23,265) that have "football parking" listed as the violation.

I assume some other tickets written on football Saturdays may be listed under some other charge, like "sidewalk/grass," but maybe not. Anyway, here's a breakdown of where the football parking tickets were written:
  • South campus deck: 64 tix
  • North campus deck: 37 tix
  • Carlton Street deck: 24 tix
  • PAC (east campus deck): 8 tix
Obviously each and every one of these were written on a Saturday (duh). Indeed, only 134 parking tickets were written all year on a Saturday, and 133 of them were for football day violations. Yup, we have our priorities in order here at UGA.


I had some more time and played around with the football ticket data. Here are a few factoids:
  • All but one football ticket was written in the morning, nearly all between 6 and 8. Makes sense.
  • There were 19 tickets on 9/5, the first game day, and 28 on the second game day (9/19). I lost interest in counting after that. Sue me.
  • The type of car that parks illegally on game days doesn't look all that different from other tickets, with Toyota leading the way, followed by a tie for second between Honda and Nissan.
  • Same with color, the most popular football day illegal parker drives a black vehicle. Two illegal parkers drove orange cars, the same Kia hatchback on two different days (you thought it'd be a Tennessee fan, didn't you?).
  • Often it appears the same car parked illegally on different game days. I can't be sure about this because I don't have unique identifiers for the vehicles, just the tickets, but for example a black, 4-door Audi got tickets on four different game days in the same lot. Asses. I see this a lot in the data, too often to be coincidence. The same Mercedez-Benz (I suspect) has tickets in the same lot on two different game days. 

Survey Story

Updated Below

There's a good Red & Black story out today on a UGA survey I've critiqued before (see herehere, and here). I don't want to repeat my earlier critiques other than make a few comments about the poll and the story itself. First, there's this graph (bold face by me):
The results were released in July, with an overall response rate of 23 percent, or just more than 10,000 people, according to the executive summary. This was below the target goal of 30 percent, which Cook said was needed for the survey results to be generalized for the entire university population.
I've looked hard to find any justification for that 30 percent in a non-probability survey (nice way of saying a self-selected survey) being generalizable to the population. I can't find it in the survey literature, I can't find it on major survey sites like AAPOR, I can't find it anywhere. I admit I could be missing it, and this 30 percent comes not from the university spokeswoman but the consultant. It's in the report, but with no citation, no support, no justification. Given the 23 percent response rate loaded with far too many admin/staff types, I honestly don't think much of this survey, but that's a different issue.

And then there's this quote just above the 30 percent graph. Here I take off my public opinion hat and put on my journalism professor hat.
“The survey was really an attempt on the part of the University of Georgia to hear the voices and to learn more about the experiences of faculty, staff and students here at the University of Georgia,” said Michelle Cook, associate provost for Institutional Diversity, who chaired the 11-member committee that oversaw the survey.
I could be wrong, but this stinks of an emailed answer to a question provided in advance. If I'm wrong, I apologize. If I'm right, then dammit you should say in the attribution that it was in response to an emailed question. Be up front with the reader, especially given UGA flacks and their crutch use of requiring emailed questions and emailed responses -- which no news org should ever accept.

[I was wrong. Nate Harris, news editor at The R&B, told me via Twitter that his reporter got the quote in a face-to-face interview.]

Again, maybe she actually said it over the phone in exactly that way, but it reads like a written response to me. Tell me, the reader, if it's so.

And now something to praise. That's a helluva good graphic in the story comparing UGA's actual gender and race breakdowns with the survey's breakdowns. And other than my quibbles above, it's a damn good story with lots of comments from campus folks, especially students. Good work on that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Prez Debates

We're already asking who's gonna win the presidential debate and the first one is still a month away.

I saw this story and then immediately hunted up the crosstabs to see better breakdowns of the data. First off is the lede:
Americans expect Hillary Clinton to do a better job than Donald Trump in the presidential debates this year, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

By a 10-point margin – 45 percent to 35 percent – Americans think Clinton will outperform Trump, while another 20 percent aren’t sure.
So the news is people expect Clinton to out-debate Trump. No real surprise there. And no surprise if you read later than Dems are more likely to see Clinton will win and GOPers more likely to see Trump as the winner.

Now let's look deeper. Here are the crosstabs, which gives us breakdowns on the "winner" question by gender, age, race, party ID, income, and Census region (South, etc.).

Again, nothing is gonna shock you, but it's interesting nonetheless. Every age category sees Clinton as doing better, though younger respondents under the age of 30 are most likely to predict it. Whites also predicted Trump doing better. Interestingly, the middle income bracket of $50,000 to $100,000 is the only one to predict Trump will win, no doubt due to him having more supporters in that category. Because, face it, people tend to believe their own candidate will do well in a debate and, afterward, will report their loser actually won. People see what they want to see, what we in the biz called the theory of motivated reasoning.

What Clinton has to fight, of course, is high expectations going into the debate. Her campaign folks will in a few weeks start praising Trump's debate skills in hopes of raising expectations of his performance and dampening expectations of her performance. Keep an eye out for it.


Monday, August 22, 2016

A Ticket Time of Day

What time of day are you more likely to get a UGA parking ticket? I finally got around to knocking out the specific times. It wasn't as easy as you might think. My Excel skills are slipping. So here we go, the top times of the day when tickets are written:
  1. 8:30 a.m.
  2. 9:40 a.m.
  3. 10:36 a.m. (see a trend here?)
  4. 2:10 p.m. (wait, what?)
  5. 9:50 a.m.
  6. 9:46 a.m.
  7. 2:07 p.m.
  8. 9:45 a.m.
  9. 10:14 a.m.
  10. 9:41 a.m.
As you can see above, 8 of 10 are morning times. If we flip this, the least likely times to get tickets are, obviously, evenings or very early in the mornings. There are way too many 1-ticket-written times to list here. However ... there was one ticket written at 1:07 a.m.  That's an early ticket, written (of course) in the Ramsey lot.

Fun Fact: A silver Tesla got three parking tickets, all bunched together (9/15, 9/22, and 9/28). But in three different lots (Physics, Brooks, and Lower Brooks). I can only assume that third ticket got the overindulged Tesla owner's attention.

Fun Fact II: A gray Maserati got two tickets, one at Ramsey Center and another nearby at East Village. Not nearly enough, to me, for anyone driving a Maserati.

Fun Fact III: The most ticketed vehicle at UGA is a Toyota, followed by Honda, Ford, and Nissan. This, of course, merely reflects how many staff, faculty, and students drive those popular brands. Black cars got the most tickets, pink (yes, pink) the fewest (three the entire academic year, and yes in all three cases it appears to be the same pink scooter).