Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Below Average Journalism

An example of not thinking before you open your trap: "None of the major MP3 player brands -- not even Apple -- got better than average overall reliability and service marks in our survey." says the header paragraph.  Okay - I do sort of get what they're saying, but it's an example of poor language skills and the person responsible should be sent to ESL classes or something.

"Average" by definition means the median, the mean, that average of a group.  By definition, half the group should be above or equal to the average, and half should be below.  Saying that "none were better than average" means nothing at all, unless you qualify that as "none were better than an average overall reliability as measured across all portable electronic devices" or something.

I'm tempted to bring up the old saw: "Y'know, I've decided that half the people around me are below average..."  And then leave it up to you to decide as to which half that journo belongs in.

And we wonder why non-English speakers have so much trouble understanding us sometimes...

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