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IndyStar does polls right

You’ll remember my previous post about the wrong way to do polls.

In it, I lamented newspapers tendancies to put polls at the bottom of the homepage and to not include any context or link to the story. Those are major pet peeves of mine. I also mentioned any publication of the results needs a disclaimer about how unscientific the poll is.

I just noticed the IndyStar does polls right. Usually, I enter the Star through my RSS reader and bypass the homepage. Today, after reading an article I decided to click over and take a look at the front page.

Indy Star gets polls right

What I like:

  • Location: The poll is on the second full screen down on the page. It is in the middle of the main content area. Granted it’s under an ad, but it’s still located with the other news headlines and content.

  • Topic: This is a controversial issue in Indiana. Just the 104 comments on the story already and the near 50/50 split on the poll should tip off even those who couldn’t care less that lots of people do in fact care. Lots of interest means lots of readers with strong opinions to take the poll.
  • Context: Notice that blue in the image? It’s a link to, get this, the story that prompted this poll. Now that you got my attention, I want to know more about where the bypass stands. I don’t have to go search through your clunky archive to find it. (I’ve never actually used their archive, but news site archives are by very nature hard to work with.)

I still would like to see a link to the poll on the story itself, but I’ll settle for this as a good example of polls for newspapers to follow.

One Response to “IndyStar does polls right”

  1. Mindy McAdams Says:

    Good post, Meranda. You’re right that it’s a GREAT idea to link to the story from the poll itself — and vice versa, for crying out loud! What could make more sense than linking in both directions?

    The fact that newspapers have been online for 10 years (and in some cases, even longer) and they still are not doing something this basic and logical really makes me scratch my head in disbelief.