The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Using data in a news story

Via Sullivan, the New York Times has its lede checked twice, and found wanting. The Times ran a story claiming two people's mobile phone conversations in China disconnected after a participant said the word "protest" twice. As we say in technology, we could not duplicate the issue:

METHODS: The staff prepared three phrases. A) Queen Gertrude’s response to Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks;” b) “I like Bob Dylan’s protest songs, the most;” and c) “PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST!” The staff also prepared a list of five individuals with phones in China. They are a) a foreign Shanghai entrepreneur; b) a Shanghai school teacher; c) a Beijing-based foreign correspondent; d) a Beijing-based scrap metal entrepreneur; e) a Foshan-based scrap metal entrepreneur. Each individual was called from a Shanghai phone line, and asked to listen to the three phrases, repeated twice.

RESULTS: In all five cases, the connection was sustained and the staff was subjected to varying degrees of bewildered responses....

Read to the bottom, where it appears the Times Beijing correspondent wants to correct the record.

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