When we received a tweet that included this link:
. . . we here at the Weekly World HQ nearly flipped our Che berets. Who was this "Committee for Newspaper and Media Integrity" and where did they get off scoring us with a combined 57.1 for integrity, quality and objectivity?
Then we looked closer at the data.
Actually, that 57.1 makes OC Weekly the 165th most reputable newspaper in the world--out of nearly 2,000 that have been ranked. The combined score is based on marks of 56.8 for integrity, 47.4 for quality and 69.0 for objectivity.
By comparison, the Orange County Register is ranked 579th with a combined 52.8 (77.5 for integrity, 48.5 for quality and 50.1 for objectivity).
So, who are the righteous dudes scoring us so far ahead of the region's major metropolitan dailies? They are Aron Ping D'Souza, editor of The Journal of Jurisprudence, and H. Trent Moore, editor of the Journal of Applied Economy, which also lists D'Souza as associate editor.
Those august publications are part of the Elias-Clark Group, a private, nonprofit, family-owned publisher in Melbourne, Australia, that releases a "broad range of books and periodicals directed towards academics, specialists and broad consumers."
Claims Elias-Clark, "Our business model has evolved substantially since our inception, but our commitment to bring the best of the written word to world has not."
The Committee for Newspaper and Media Integrity was founded "to give consumers an avenue to state their opinions on the objectivity, integrity and quality of newspapers and other media outlets. The Committee uses the latest statistical tools to map consumer opinions and intends to report to the public and to the industry on the findings of this project."
Fresh scores carry the most weight, rankings are based mostly on the opinions of survey participants and various technological safeguards ensure the voting is not rigged.
Perhaps the eggheads can dumb this down for us:
The class-B data is the foundational data of the survey, filling in the pre-March 2010 areas of the survey. It is based upon a crawler algorithm that determined the core KPIs based on publicly-available data on the internet. The crawler bot gathered the data, mostly commentaries individuals had written about newspapers, and a PHP/mySQL database proceeded this data breaking down natural language into information segments which then could be quantified. The data was further segmented based on date. Again, this data has a half-life and will slowly decrease in relative significance to the overall rating of a media outlet.
OK, so maybe they can't.
All we know is, it takes a lot of data to create accurate rankings and--as it now stands--the average margin of error for the survey is a dubious 14.22 percent. Survey takers are constantly being sought.
The method is being refined regularly, which explains, in part, fluctuations in the data.
You mean fluctuations like a paper scoring more than 77 for integrity but only 50 for objectivity?
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We recognise that the data as presented is not 100% accurate. We are attempting to bring science to an art, and the data will never be 100% accurate, but we are trying our very best and constantly trying to perfect the methodology.
Not that we here at Weekly World HQ want the Committee for Newspaper and Media Integrity to get much more precise. Right now, our combined score is only 10 points off that of what's supposedly the best newspaper on the planet, the Brampton Guardian of Brampton, Ontario, Canada (67.1).
According to the rankings, the bottom feeders are Japan's Mainichi Daily News (33.5), Adevarul (Truth) of Bucharest, Romania (29.7), and the least reputable paper in the world, Bloque Latino Americano De Prensa-exito Deportivo (Bloque Latino Spanish News Publications) of Las Vegas, Nevada (28.7).
Must be Freedom papers.