Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mark Scott (and underling) in diversity denial

The publicly funded  academic blog The Conversation (or as we know it "The Con") recently published an article that revealed some interesting statistics about the voting intentions of ABC reporters.

The voting intentions of 34 ABC reporters turned out as follows:
41.2% of the 34 ABC journalists who declared a voting intention said they would vote for the Greens, followed by 32.4% for Labor and 14.7% for the Coalition.

There were questions asked of the authors about the statistical significance of the results given the low number of respondents.  In regard to the study the authors state:
If we disregard the 42.8% of journalists who are undecided, refused to answer or would vote for a party or candidate other than the major three, this is a statistically significant result.
So the authors claim a statistically significant result and have their work published in a peer reviewed journal.
We asked Mark Scott to explain his organisations diversity problem that appears to break the back of ABC's charter, here's his response, through one of his underlings:

Dear Mr Hendrickx,

The Managing Director’s office has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your email.

As the passage you have quoted acknowledges, the survey referred to in that article included the voting intentions of only 34 members of the ABC’s staff.  The ABC’s most recent annual report gives a staff head count of 5,429 people. 

The survey results do not support your contention that the ABC’s employees ‘are demonstrably dominated by one cultural group’.

Yours sincerely,

Kirstin McLiesh
Head, Audience and Consumer Affairs

Seems Mr Scott is in denial of this "statistically significant result"! Does that constitute a clear case of confirmation bias? We think so, here's our quick reply:

Hi Kirsten,
Odd that Mr Scott should deny statistically significant results published in a peer reviewed paper, or was that your opinion? Perhaps some remedial statistics classes are in order.


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