Here is a fascinating post by Laurence Jantalipinski (h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo) which takes assumptions made by a reporter and tests that against actual polling. The subject itself is irrelevant — but the method is a great anecdote to relate to journalism students to demonstrate why it’s important to challenge your own assumptions about what “most people” think.
Here’s how it goes: a reporter makes a casual assertion:
“If you ask most people why they don’t trust Labour, they will respond with one of the following…”
…before listing reasons which, perhaps, are articulated within her own social circle. But is one reporter’s “most people” representative?
Well that’s the thing. When Talipinski tested those reasons against other possibilities using a proper poll with 1100 people, he found none ranked in the top five: Continue reading