Tony de Velasco 
Member since Aug 13, 2018


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Re: “City Council Votes to Require Masks in Public

Hey genius, know your facts. The mayor doesn't need to sign this. That's not how the process works.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 06/17/2020 at 9:49 AM

Re: “COVID-19 Cases Up By 95, No New Deaths

New numbers released by state this pm make that new case count actually 161 total from Sat to Sun.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 05/03/2020 at 4:30 PM

Re: “Keeping the Free Press Free

Bruce, I should know this, but why dont I see copies of the Flyer at UofM? Or have I just missed them in my 15 years here? It just occurred to me.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 10/08/2019 at 7:08 PM

Re: “The "Freshman Class" of City Candidates: a Second Look

Appreciate very much how you weave in the social media aspect here, the topic of how coverage gets tied to larger questions of viability, and how all of this is playing out in an evolving political landscape. Speaking only for myself, I am grateful for your dialogue on this, and for your sincere attempts to get things right, even as people (including me) make our criticisms.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 10/01/2019 at 2:04 PM

Re: “Strickland‘s Amen Corner

Jackson Baker, I missed you yesterday at the Marek event. Wanted to discuss this face to face, but I missed my chance before you left. There's a lot behind my concern here that (perhaps unfairly to you) involves factors and people that you can't be held responsible for. It would have been good to talk informally in a setting that allowed for tone, purpose, etc. to be more obvious and for me to hear from you about the challenges you surely face in trying to report about polls in this race, given that we dont have ANY that can be reviewed by readers.

At the same time...the allusion's "quizzical" aspect depends on the presumed solidity of the object to which you are alluding. The data point reads: "polls showing Strickland holding his own with the black vote, as he did in 2015." But theres no indication about where these polls (and why the plural? are there more than one?) even come from. Thats seems off, to me, and even more off when we learn that the source is the Sanford piece, whose sourcing is also cloudy.

I am asking that when you make allusions to private polls produced by interested campaigns that you provide a caveat of some kind. Why not do that? That would not take much. And it would echo "best practices" cited above. Bruce argues that this would jeopardize the sources you need and rely upon, but I wonder if there's a way to help readers without doing that.

I make a lot of this, because to my eyes the column obscures important context that can help readers to better judge the quality and kind of information used to frame the race. You make the poll reference at the conclusion of the piece. It drives home the point that the photo communicates. It is added to relate one to the other; light on the quizzical in my view, but heavy with implication.

Finally, I am surprised that you would make this AT ALL about my questioning the credentials or integrity or sincerity of these men and women in the photo. I did no such thing by asking the Flyer for clarification on this. I'm talking about and to the prose published above, not about or to the nature of whether these clergy represent the political leanings of their flock when it comes to the mayor's race. That the Strickland campaign would invite them to appear in a photo with him and then they accept is a different matter than my question about how these things get written when it comes to polling and framing the race.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 09/18/2019 at 4:16 PM

Re: “Strickland‘s Amen Corner

This part in particular:

"Many surveys are conducted by partisan actors political consulting firms, industry groups and candidates. In some cases, the findings are biased by factors such as respondent selection and question wording. Partisan-based polls need to be carefully scrutinized and, when possible, reported in comparison with nonpartisan poll results."

The "when possible" part here is a problem, of course, because there are no independent polls out there...yet. So why not just say that? I realize that I am not an unbiased party here, but I do hope maybe down the line this can be included in the mix of things to think about.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 09/13/2019 at 12:02 PM

Re: “Strickland‘s Amen Corner

Thanks for responding, Bruce. I hear you re: SOP on this. But I think the "as fact" effect in both pieces is problematic, given the lack of any caveat to help readers parse things out. I don't see the line between "as fact" and "points of information" as one that most readers would accept, though maybe they are terms of art in journalism.

I understand the distinction, but in this case I think it's a lot fuzzier. My reading is that JB's story passes over the source here - and that's not to protect the source or the relationship, of course, since it's now secondhand. I think he just assumes it's true, so no need to even qualify. Maybe so! But a sentence or two of qualification/context could deal with this.

Again, there are no public polls of this race. So there's no yardstick. When a reporter uses numbers from a campaign that clearly has an interest in how things are reported out, I just think it better to contextualize so as to make that more visible.

I think this link echoes some of my concerns, because it makes explicit the variety of ways to think about how polls are used in political reporting.

https://journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets…

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tony de Velasco on 09/13/2019 at 11:55 AM

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