This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

August 9th, 2004

Sorry, My Mistake!

When you make a mistake, the best thing is to admit it. That is especially important when you write a weekly column. If I don't, I take a chance on not having you believe anything else I every write or say!

Well, I made a mistake. In last weeks column I quoted a study, gave the information out, and while I did say I disagreed with the figures the so-called study had for the number of women in fly fishing, I can't use that as an excuse.

Bluntly, the information was not valid.

I received the study in the mail, nicely packaged, several typed pages and a cd with 250 plus pages. I read the text, pulled up the cd and read through it (scanned some sections). I had some questions and put in a call on Thursday to the PR person who sent it. On Monday I received a return call, after the column was published, of course.

My main questions were about the methods used to obtain the survey numbers.

His answers, which I've already posted on the Bulletin Board, were that the study was conducted over 6 years by "random" phone calls. The company taking the so-called survey said they made 4,000 random phone calls. Nothing available on time of day the calls were made, what day of the week, over what period of time (this is supposed to be a six-year study) nor what parts of the country. Conceivably they made less than 70 phone calls a year? Opps. Who knows?

We really do try to present good information here on Fly Anglers OnLine, and sorry to say I bought into this "study" hook, line and sinker. My sincere apologies.

This study was paid for by many outdoor manufacturers, and in my opinion, if they use these figures for anything other than to impress their stockholders (not exactly kosher either) it would be a big mistake.

Having been involved in real research many years ago, I know figures can be manipulated to produce any results. It may be that some people produced these figures intentionally. The overall "study" results indicated a very large increase in outdoor sports: "Adding 16 million new faces since 1998, outdoor "participants" now comprise two-thirds of the national population." Sounds terrific! Unfortunately, we have no idea of what the real figure is.

The good news is I do see some really positive things happening in fly fishing! At least as far as FAOL is concerned. We had real growth in readership this past year, 20% in fact. The other biggie is about half of our readers are NEW to fly fishing and/or tying. We have put a lot of time and effort into providing good information for those coming into fly fishing (and tying) and the email and comments on the Bulletin Board are certainly encouraging! We seem to be doing the job we set out to do.

Well, except for my column last week.... ~ DLB

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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