Tag Archives: The New York Times

Case Study 8: Afghan polls

26 Mar

Case Study 8: Cut and Compile Afghan Polls

By: Gabriela Gonzalez


I preferred the piece by The New York Times, so I used it as my base in the compilation. I felt its take on the poll was the more realistic one and better explained. The piece by USA Today was balanced in that it had two arguments, and I liked the way it presented the contrast between Iraq and Afghanistan. I like the way The New York Times presented the information in general, and though the USA Today’s counter arguments offered a balance in opinions, it didn’t solve some of the confusion that arises from the poll itself. The opinions in USA Today were valuable insight that should be presented. Though the USA Today did things in bullet points, The New York Times did a great job with presenting the poll information and phrasing things in a way that allow the reader to understand more fully what one can draw from the survey. In my compilation I want to incorporate both the good phrasing and the bullet points which help the reader and shorten the piece. The New York Times piece also compared  the Afghanistan people’s opinion to its other surveys in earlier years. The New York Times chart also helped clearly illustrate some key findings.

The New York Times

Afghans Losing Faith in Nation’s Path, Poll Shows

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan —While the national mood in Afghanistan remains positive on the whole, the number of people with negative or mixed views on the trajectory of the country has grown significantly since a similar survey in 2004, according to the Asia Foundation, which conducted both surveys. The most recent survey was released Wednesday.

According to the USA Today, “Iraqis have a bleaker outlook. A September 1-4 World Public Opinion Poll of more than 1,000 Iraqis showed that 47 percent thought their country was going in the right direction, while 52 percent thought it was going the wrong way.”

– Forty-four percent of Afghans said the country was headed in the right direction, compared with 64 percent in 2004 on the eve of the first democratic presidential elections in Afghanistan.

-Twenty-one percent said the country was headed in the wrong direction — compared with 11 percent in 2004 — and 29 percent had mixed feelings. Security was the main reason for the increased concern, the survey said.

Financed by the United States Agency for International Development, the survey was conducted by the Asia Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, and by local partners, who interviewed more than 6,000 people from June through August this year in all but two of Afghanistan’s provinces because of security reasons. The main goal of the survey was to determine the attitudes of Afghans toward the political process, public policy and development progress.

-Fifty-four percent said they felt more prosperous than they had under the Taliban, but 26 percent said they felt less well off.

-When asked specifically if corruption was a problem nationally, 77 percent of respondents said it was, and 60 percent said it had increased.

-Strong approval of the Afghan National Army, 87 percent approved, and the Afghan National Police, of which 86 percent approved. The justice system, local militias and political parties were not trusted, the survey said.

“I have never met one person, including the minister of the Interior, who trusted the Afghan National Police,” Barnett Rubin, who studies Afghanistan at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation, said in an email to the USA Today. “I think this is not a very reliable survey.”

George Varughese, who directed the poll for the Asia Foundation, agrees that some of the results “appear to challenge the current wisdom on issues in Afghanistan,” but said to the USA Today, “We feel it is a solid, important piece of work, completed during a difficult time.”

*Contributions made by the USA Today

Case Study 4: Google Alerts

15 Feb

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Google Alerts can find some interesting stories and facts you may have never known about without its watchful eye.

“The service was created by Gideon Greenspan, a Ph.D. student at Israel’s Technion and long-time Macintosh developer,” said Jonathan Dube, of the Poynter Institue.

It just so happens that a Herald Reporter obtained news of a letter written to Florida Governor Charlie Crist asking him to pardon Jim Morrison of The Doors posthumously.

He got an awesome story that no one else had because he had alerts on the governor.

Signing up is free, and it only takes a moment. When you sign up, articles, blogs and whatever other news outlets you choose with your keyword are delivered directly to your inbox.

Google Alerts goes through about 4,500 news sources a day, Dube said. That is power.

The New York Times has an alert-tracking system, but it became a subscription service. Yahoo offers free alerts, but it seems no system can beat the Google Alert.

For financial news, Dube said Forbes and Market Watch also have an alert system that is free.

So, why use Google Alerts or any other tracking system for any other reason other than the fact that you want to be the reporter with the story no one else has?

Alerts can be used for many things, said Melinda Storrs, who gives online tips for marketing entrepreneurs. Other than helping you keep tabs on certain subjects or even teams, they can help you keep track of yourself and your online profile.

Not only can alerts help you keep track of yourself and offer new story ideas, but they could point to potential sources and new interests.

The most important and obvious reason why Google Alerts and other alert systems are so useful is because they save you time. They send to your inbox what you could only perhaps find by sitting at a table reading for the rest of your life.

We don’t have 1,000 hours in a day to read every newspaper and look for those keywords we are so interested in or the words that pertain to our beat, Dube said. It is impossible.