I know Slovakia’s journalists are overtaxed with all that is required of them, but there are things they could do to make things better without too much extra work. Case in point: today all major Slovak news sources today report, almost word for word, a press release from the firm Median reporting poll results from July:
- TA3: http://www.ta3.com/sk/reportaze/129612_prieskum-volby-by-vyhral-smer-sd
- SME: http://www.sme.sk/c/4984048/smer-zostava-napriek-poklesu-najsilnejsou-politickou-stranou.html
- Pravda: http://spravy.pravda.sk/v-prieskumoch-nic-nove-smer-valcuje-d6s-/sk_domace.asp?c=A090821_105906_sk_domace_p12
- HN: http://hnonline.sk/slovensko/c1-38118610-fico-aj-slota-padaju-kauzy-im-skodia
The reports differ a bit, of course: SME and TA3 have a graph, Pravda has a table with past results from Median, HN relates the results (with no actual evidence) to the effect of recent scandals.
What none of them does is to answer the important question about Most-Hid. Median, for reasons that are not clear, does not report on parties that do not cross the 5% threshold, and all the papers report that fact. What they do not do is to say just how well Most-Hid actually did. Here’s where journalism comes into play. If the role of journalist goes beyond simply typing (or in this case probably pasting what others send to you) then it may be to try to find answers to important questions.
So here’s my suggestion: call Median and ask them
If Median won’t answer, ask them why. Focus reports its polling results with an extremely detailed and effective one-page report. UVVM used to do the same. There is no reason the papers should print Median’s results unless they are willing to rise to the same (bare minimum) standards. If Median won’t play that way, write a story about the fact that Median won’t provide necessary information):
If Median won’t answer and you still want to figure out something about Most-Hid’s initial support (a quite important detail), here’s my second suggestion: do some math.
If you add up the total support for the parties listed by Median in past polls, you get a consistent result of about 97% for May and June. That means other parties are getting about 3% (specifically 3.1% in May and 3.3% in June). If you add up the total support for July you get 92.3%. That means other parties got 7.7%. Of course this doesn’t tell you how well particular parties did, but it’s worth reporting that the “Other” number rose by 4.4% and citing the FOCUS numbers which show that support for below-threshold parties actually did not change systematically during the same period (9.0% in May, 12.5% in June, 10.2% in August), meaning that a large share, of not all of the 4.4% probably went to Most-Hid.
Total cost of these important details: one phone call and/or 2 minute 3o seconds of addition and subtraction.
If this lack of effort applies in this specific area, it’s probably also true in areas where I do not read. It’s time for Slovaks to demand better journalism.