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First post -any help and guidance greatly appreciated...

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First post -any help and guidance greatly appreciated... [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2017, 14:24
AWA PRACTICE - OG, p. 835 8 Aug 17

The following appeared in a memorandum from the publisher to the staff of The Clarion, a large metropolitan newspaper:

“During the recent campaign for mayor, a clear majority of city readers who responded to our survey indicated a desire for more news about city government. To increase circulation, and thus our profits, we should therefore consistently devote a greater proportion of space in all editions of The Clarion to coverage of local news.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyse the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluation its conclusion.
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On the surface the argument is defensible – a greater desire for a certain type of news would likely lead to the assumption that more of that news would lead to greater circulation. However, there are a number of flaws in the argument, and this essay will examine three: the quality of the poll; the inaccurate conclusion; and the failure to derive an appropriate and accurate solution. It will conclude with a recommendation for better analysis.

Firstly, the poll is highly limited in its scope, in particular its timeframe. It is extremely likely that during an election interest in local politics is going to be higher, and therefore it is dangerous to assume that this interest is going to persist forever (the article refers to “consistently” altering its content). It is also dependent on those who have responded, and it is likely that these individuals are particularly moved or motivated to do so; those people who did not respond may be a higher percentage of readership, and may not have responded due to their satisfaction with the current output of the paper – circulation levels and readership rates provide more accurate assessments, but take longer to ascertain. For these two reasons the poll is of insufficiently high quality to be able to accurately draw long-term conclusions.

Secondly, even if the poll was of higher quality (and it would be extremely difficult to measure when it was of sufficient quality), it does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that more space in all editions of The Clarion should be devoted to local news. Assuming that there is a linkage between circulation and profits (which the memo does assume, and which is extremely likely) it does not necessarily lead that readers of all editions of The Clarion are interested in local news. For example, residents in a commuter area may be less interested in the news around where they live, and more interested in news around where they work. Hence the deduction that what is right for one edition is right for all editions is not necessarily correct.

Thirdly, even if the first two areas were sound, the piece does not articulate how much more space should be devoted to local news. This is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, it does not identify what the upper limit of space should be; there may be a tipping point for local news, beyond which readers are actively turned off from reading the paper. Secondly, it fails to clarify what should be sacrificed to make space for the local news. If it is advertising space which is paid for by companies, this may eat into their profits, which would undermine another one of the piece’s assumptions. If it is another form of news, this may turn off more readers who are interested in that, and have an overall negative impact on circulation. In sum, the lack of clearly identified guidelines makes the direction woolly at best.

Better analysis, therefore, would be derived from the following actions: establish regular polls over a longer timeframe and during a number of different big events; utilise data from a number of different editions; identify what should be sacrificed, and by how much, in order to accord to the wishes of the readership without impacting profits; and remain flexible in what gets allocated. The piece’s deduction that it should “consistently devote a greater proportion of space in all editions” is too blanket a statement. It would be far better to allow the editorial team the flexibility to alter the quantity and type of news coverage according to the situation, the location, and the readership. While poll respondents may be a metric which can contribute to understanding these factors, it should not be the only one, and others, such as readership rates and circulation, which may take longer to gather but would be more accurate, must be taken into account as well.

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 11:51
Ollie this is clearly a 6. (Actually, more like a 7.) There's some very inventive phrasing, no mistakes, and an avoidance of the usual pre-fab phrases and cookie-cutter constructions. It's easily the best essay I've seen here in the AWA section.
Funny how few responses there are to these requests for critiques, but, late as I am, I had to chime in.
Did you do this in 30 minutes?

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New post 18 Aug 2017, 20:48
Thank you very much, for taking the time (I was losing hope...) and your kind words. Yes, done within 30 mins, but I forgot to turn my spell check off on Word, so some auto-correct action may have covered over any errors. Essay writing is not too challenging for me, and has been the basis for my higher education thus far. My maths, however, is more than a little ropey, hence 95% of my prep time is spent on quant...

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New post 20 Aug 2017, 07:29
Ollie I also like that you've got control of articles and punctuation, and that the thing has color; hard to teach, hard to learn.
Remember, you're only as good as your next essay, so bang another one out, let us look it over.

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New post 06 Oct 2017, 20:54
The author of this argument claims that there should be a greater proportion of the Clarion devoted to the coverage of local news. The author supports this by stating that a majority of city readers who responded to a survey indicated a desire for more news on the government. As stated, the argument relies on numerous unsubstantiated assumptions and illogically draws conclusions. Therefore, the argument is weak and unconvincing, and has several flaws.

Firstly, the author introduces The Clarion as a medium that needs to be changed based on the conclusions drew from a survey. The author assumes that those who responded to the survey are the same people who read The Clarion. However, the author fails to provide evidence that the population is the same for both the survey and those who read The Clarion. Therefore, it is questionable as to whether the claim will hold true if those who indicate they have a desire for more news about city government don’t read the revamped Clarion magazine with a greater coverage for local news.

Furthermore, the author makes a radical claim that all editions of the Clarion should be revamped with more coverage on local news. However, the author fails to provide proof and a reasonable explanation as to why all editions must be revamped. For example, The Clarion could very well be known for its sports edition which has extensive coverage on local sport teams. However, if there so happens to be a limit as to how long the edition can be, and a greater proportion is being put forth to government news coverage, it could detrimentally affect the reputation of the sport edition of The Clarion by taking away coverage from sports. The author of this argument needs to carefully analyze which section or edition is more relevant to local news and would benefit greatly from an increase in coverage for news on the government. Without this carefully analysis, it appears the author is illogically and radically making conclusions without much supporting evidence for those conclusions.

In addition, the author of the argument claims that the changes put forth for The Clarion will increase circulation, subsequently increasing profits as well. However, the author fails to consider other factors that may affect profit generation and not just circulation alone. For example, there are expenses that need to be devoted to more writers for a larger coverage of local news. Also, there could be expenses to buy out more sections of The Clarion. To strengthen the claim, the author needs to demonstrate that a cost-benefit analysis suggests profit increase despite the many increases in probable costs.

Overall, the argument is neither compelling nor persuasive. The author leaves many gaps in his or her reasoning for his or her final conclusions. To fill in these gaps, one must assume several facts which has no supporting evidence within the author’s argument. If the author has supporting his or her points with evidence such as the ones discussed above, the argument would have been more thorough, logically and strong.

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First post -any help and guidance greatly appreciated...   [#permalink] 06 Oct 2017, 20:54
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First post -any help and guidance greatly appreciated...

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