Thursday, March 29, 2007

EyeTrack or eyewash?

In yet another example of the newspaper industry's capacity for meaningless and self-delusional research, the Poynter Institute has issued a breathless study proving that, duh, people like to read things that interest them.

"We were amazed by the numbers," says the study dubbed EyeTrack07. We are amazed that they are amazed. And we are even more amazed that this study, deftly debunked here by Alan Jacobson, costs $695.

EyeTrack requires test subjects to wear a klunky set of glasses hooked to a mini-camera that makes them look strikingly similar to the E.T. character recently contrived by the Newspaper Association of America to promote newspaper advertising.

"Any scientist worth his salt will tell you that EyeTrack07's findings cannot say anything conclusive about newspaper readership," says Alan, who eyeballs more newspapers a day than most people do in a month. "Data is meaningless if it isn't useful."