One of our regular readers, Laurie, sent her own version of our diatribe about the Denver Post's slanted reportage to Amy Herdy, the author of the article in question. Ms. Herdy replied thus:
I reported that story for two days, during which the alumni association could not, or would not, give me numbers as to how many votes Mr. Churchill received. Nor could they, or would they, tell me who was next in line, or how many votes they received. I tried, and copy editors tried, to call them back repeatedly to clarify and they would not return phone calls. If you like, call the editor on the storyDiane Alters, at [phone number omitteded.], and confirm.
I made it clear in the story how many students voted overall2, 085. Mr. Zimmerman told me that Churchill won by 32 percent more votes than the person next in line. With 80 percent of class sizes being the category of Mr. Churchillsa fact edited outthats a pretty strong win, unless alumni officials opt for full disclosure to tell us otherwise.
Note that Ms. Herdy makes the call that since Churchill won with "32 percent more votes" than his nearest competitor, and since "80 percent of class sizes were of Mr. Churchill's", it was clear that calling the selection of Churchill as anything but "overwhelming" would have been negligent and just bad reporting.
Somehow, we are expected to blame the CU administrators for Herdy's grand leap to her preposterous conclusion. It seems quite unnecessary that CU gave Herdy any facts at all, since she had no problem cutting them from whole cloth.
It also seems odd that she worked on this story for two days and couldn't get the numbers out of the mean old CU alumni association, but the Colorado Springs Gazette had no trouble getting the numbers, and more importantly, reporting them. Perhaps Ms. Herdy should give them a call for tips on how to gather information and then report it in a factual way.
Here's a tip, Ms. Herdy: When you're told an unnamed amount of people vote for something, and that the total of those voting is seven percent of those who could have voted, just report thatand at the beginning, not the end, of your article.
And leave the conclusion-jumping to those who can handle the altitude.