Thursday, June 08, 2006


Hey, just so you don't think we're nothing but doom and gloom here at HEADSUP-L Manor, here's a hearty pat on the back and Job Well Done to all you desks that spurned or otherwise rejected this San Jose-dated item from the Associated Press:

Undergraduate survey: iPods more popular than beer
Move over Bud. College life is not just about drinking beer.

In a rare instance, Apple Computer Inc.'s iconic iPod music player surpassed beer drinking as the most "in" thing among undergraduate college students, according to the latest biannual market research study by Ridgewood, New Jersey-based Student Monitor.

Nearly three quarters, or 73 percent, of 1,200 students surveyed said iPods were "in" more than any other item in a list that also included text messaging, bar hopping and downloading music.

In the year-ago study, only 59 percent of students named the iPod as "in," putting the gadget well below alcohol-related activities.

This took some serious, genuine, hit-behind-the-runner, out-and-out clutch copyediting. You couldn't settle for stopping the silly lede sentence with its missing comma of address. You couldn't just say "rare instance of what?" You had to go for the kill. Of a trend story! That uses the term iPod! And is about young people! You had to sit there, heedless of the threat to your personal safety, repeating over and over:

"Would you like a beer?" is not the same question as "Would you like an iPod?" This is a silly comparison of unrelated concepts that doesn't belong in a real newspaper. Calling it "apples and oranges" is unfair to the fruit kingdom. It's more like apples and light opera. Don't we have some news, please?

(If you calculated the margin of sampling error on your own, good for you. I can't get the same figure the marketing company got, but that could be why I'm doing qualitative this summer.)

Anyway, those of you who faced this one down and won, congratulations. The world is -- fractionally but measurably -- a better place for your efforts. And tnx to the fine young journalists at Fine Young Journalist who first sounded the alarm.


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