Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Feb. 25 - Lisa's Musings From Every Day Life

As a reporter, I'm sent a lot of press releases each day.

Especially from U-M. Although some of them are very interesting, there's only so much room in the paper, so most of them don't make it.

As I was ready to hit the delete button on two of them a few minutes ago, but the dollar figures grabbed my attention.

One was a $14.8 million award and the other was a $10 million award.

Alone or added together, that's a LOT of zeros.

The headline on the first one reads: U-M's ISR receives $14.8 million ARRA award.

To translate: ISR in U-M's Institute for Social Research and ARRA is the Federal Government's stimulus dollars. This releases goes on to say that the institute has received a total of $48.3 million in stimulus dollars to date.

Which means there may be more money to come?

There's a nice quote from Congressman John Dingell, who recently announced he plans to seek re-election on the U-M campus, and there's another one from U.S. Senator Carl Levin.

Apparently, the money will be used to add 50,000 square feet to ISR's Thompson Street building, which according to the press release, is "the world's largest academic social science research and survey organization."

And, the release goes on to say, "ISR brings together a growing number of researchers who are using biometric and biological markers in their surveys, and integrating these data with more conventional social and behavioral data present new challenges and new demands for a physical infrastructure that supports this exciting new research direction."


The second one has a headline of "NSF awards $10 million for American National Election Studies."

NSF stands for National Science Foundation and this money, too, is headed to the Institute for Social Research, but it will share this money with Stanford University's Institute for Research in the Social Sciences.

This money will be used to fund "the American National Election Studies to study voter participation and decision-making in the 2012 US presidential election, and in the mid-term elections of 2010."

Wow. That's a LOT of money spent on election studies, don't you think?

I'll give you my opinion on these two elections right now for free.

There will be less voters in the mid-term elections than during the presidential elections and neither will reach more than 50 percent of the total number of registered voters.

Anyone care to wager on those numbers with me?

I'm not picking on the institute because I know they do a lot of cool and interesting studies.

Maybe you'll agree -- I'm thoroughly amazed at how the Federal Government spends our tax dollars.

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