By: Beth Bratsos

A vast majority of University of Iowa undergraduate students think NBC handled a primetime show controversy between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno inappropriately, according to a recent poll conducted by University of Iowa students.

After O’Brien took over The Tonight Show for seven months, NBC said it intended to move Leno back to his original primetime timeslot, bumping O’Brien’s show to after midnight. NBC bought out O’Brien’s contract and ended his 22-year relationship with the network.

The poll, conducted March 9-25, shows that 81 percent of UI students say NBC did not handle the situation appropriately. Fifty-five percent say its ratings will be affected negatively while 33 percent think there will be no effect and 12 percent think ratings will be affected positively.

Most respondents (36 percent) reported watching The Tonight Show with host Conan O’Brien two nights a week; lead entertainer is the most popular determining factor when choosing a late-night show to watch, followed by time, channel and other factors. The next popular shows where the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, other shows not listed and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon respectively.

Multiple news sources cited public outcries in large support of O’Brien before he left the network on January 22. Fifty-five percent of students said the majority of people would have liked to see O’Brien in the earlier timeslot, while only 37 percent said the same of Leno, eight percent for Jimmy Fallon and one percent for other comedians.

The timeslot change was mainly attributed to pressure from affiliates and poor ratings for both shows. A majority of respondents say the conflict will not hurt O’Brien’s ratings while Leno’s ratings will suffer even more.

“Both shows needed more time to improve their ratings; the whole situation happened too fast,” said Kim Philipp, junior at the University of Iowa.

The poll, which was conducted by students in Dr. Qingjiang Yao’s Mass Media and Public Opinion Polling class, surveyed 201 students via e-mail using a probability systematic sampling method. The survey was sent to 1,549 students, making the response rate about 13 percent. the possible margin sampling error is plus or minus seven percentage points. This means that if one could talk to every student in the entire population, the actual results would differ from the findings of this poll by no more than seven percentage points simply because of sample error. Finally, p-values, which test the significance of hypotheses, are below .05 percent meaning the results of the study are more significant

University of Iowa students’ opinions on the late-night issue were studied recently after the conflict arose in January. O’Brien is joining TBS to host a late-night show expected to debut in November.


Brittany Caplin

May 6th, 2010

70% of University of Iowa undergraduate students are unsatisfied with parking availability near their classes according to a recent survey taken on campus.

A group of students from Professor Yao’s Mass Media and Public Opinion class took a poll in April 2010 asking undergraduate Iowa students to rate their satisfaction with parking on the University of Iowa campus. The survey was sent to 1,100 students and 301 students completed the survey.

81% of respondents say that they have cars here on campus and a majority drive to school at least 4 times a week. Freshmen are less concerned with the parking situation compared to juniors and seniors. There is a significant relationship between students who had received multiple parking tickets throughout the year and being highly unsatisfied with parking. Another significant relationship was between students’ high level of dissatisfaction and if parking had ever made the student late for class. Only 3.5% of the respondents said that they were satisfied with the current parking situation.

The online survey consisted of 20 questions that asked students to rate their satisfaction with parking on campus and evaluate possible solutions to the problem. On campus was defined as the streets of Clinton, Burlington, Washington, Jefferson, Dubuque by shops and restaurants, and then any street by a major university building.

On campus parking could be a deciding factor for future students who are researching colleges. According to College Prowler, a website that surveys students about issues around their campus including parking, rates University of Iowa’s parking situation as a C on a typical grading scale of A, B, C, D, and F. College Prowler is one of the first sites that is presented on Google when searching for college comparisons and receives a lot of internet traffic.

There are currently a couple viable options for future parking on campus. One option is having a current ramp, like the one connected to the Old Capital Mall, which would be pre-paid for student use only. According to the poll, 87.3% of students agree that this would make parking more accessible and easier for students. Another option is having all meters be able to accept credit cards as payment instead of only coins. University of Iowa parking officials are currently trying to implement credit card meters and hope to have that up and running within two years.

The response rate for the survey was 27.36% and the sampling error was +/-2.6%.

Lindsey Thompson

May 6th, 2010

Earlier this year, Jay Leno decided to move to an earlier time slot and Conan O’Brien took his place as the host on The Tonight Show.   After a few months, the network decided to give the timeslot back to Leno and move O’Brien’s show to a later time.  O’Brien did not want to go to a later time, so he left NBC and was given $45 million to break his contract.  Since this controversy is still being discussed on a national level, we decided to see how University of Iowa students felt about this issue.

The survey was sent out electronically to 1549 students, 201 of which were answered, giving a response rate of 12.97%.  Our sample error was 6.9% based on our sample number compared to the entire population.

A large majority of students had heard of this controversy (92.4%) showing that it was an important issue with the student population.  Out of this, the majority (34%) of students surveyed watched “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” instead of “The Late Show with David Letterman” or “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”  Not only did the majority of students surveyed prefer to watch Conan as a host, but the majority (54.8 %) of those surveyed said they would prefer to see O’Brien host in that time slot opposed to any of the of the other late night hosts.  Overall, 80% of

All those surveyed, both O’Brien and Leno supporters, felt the network, NBC, handled this situation poorly.

At the end of our survey, we offered a place to write any final comments on the late night controversy, in which almost all of the comments supported Conan O’Brien.  Examples include “I think Conan was more popular with a younger crowd. If I were in NBC’s position I would have worked hard to keep Conan to maintain a young viewership and viewers in the future” and “Not moved Conan because he has been there for years and earned that time spot.”  Others liked the outcome, but thought it was poorly handled, “NBC made the right move to put Leno back where he used to be. They should have researched the likely outcome before putting Leno in the earlier time slot.”

As a result of our survey, we saw that the majority of University of Iowa students supported Conan O’Brien and thought that the situation was handled poorly by the network showing that most of the students would say “I’m with Coco.”

By Sarah Pabis

IOWA CITY, IA- “Students view health benefits as major reason for smoking ban” read the results of a poll recently conducted by a group of students from an Introduction to Mass Media class at the University of Iowa. Their assignment was to create, administer and then analyze a poll on a controversial issue on the school campus. The issue they chose; the campus-wide smoking ban that went into effect in July of 2008. Though several areas of the school became smoke-free in 2006, such as the hospitals and clinics, the ban attempted to make UI a 100% non-smoking school. Currently, according to city law, smoking is prohibited in or on anything that is owned by the university.

The survey consisted of a twelve-part questionnaire that was administered to 210 students from May 2 to April 2 via email. The poll asked undergraduate students questions about whether or not they smoked, what they thought the benefits were, how fair the ban is, etc. along with demographics questions.  Though only approximately 3% of respondents smoke cigarettes everyday, about 90% know either a friend or relative that qualifies as a smoker. The survey showed that a whopping 68.8% of students polled supported the smoke-free mandate, the majority of whom claimed the health benefits of such a ban was their main deciding factor. Other students said a non-smoking campus posed advantages such as a cleaner campus, avoiding the “smokey” scent, creating a more appealing environment and the possibility of helping current smokers quit the habit.

Though the ban is part of the statewide Smoke-Free Air Act, which was signed into effect by Governor Chet Culver, 2.7% of students surveyed were still not aware of the smoke-free policy on campus. Previous knowledge or not, 10.9% of respondents “disagreed” that the act was unfair to smokers and an even larger 13.9% “strongly disagreed”. However, not all of those in disagreement were smokers according to the question, “Do you smoke cigarettes?”, to which only 11.5% answered “yes”.

Officials say it will take a more time to determine the long term effects of this campus-wide ban, hoping that the policy not only affects student’s smoking habits on campus, but off campus as well. The survey’s margin of error was 3.6%.

Allison Lampariello
Poll Story
6 May 2010

Colleges across the country are attempting to eliminate smoking by forbidding the habit on school grounds.

As of December of this year, 365 campuses have instituted some form of smoking ban, and as of July 1, 2008 The University of Iowa is a smoking free campus.

All University-owned buildings, University-owned or -leased vehicles, and all University grounds including recreational facilities, athletic facilities, parking lots, and enclosed parking facilities are included within the smoking ban. However, UI Hospitals and Clinics and the Health Sciences Campus have been designated non-smoking areas since 2006.

University of Iowa faculty, staff, students, and UI Hospitals and Clinics patients and visitors are expected to comply with the Iowa Smoke-free Air Act and refrain from smoking on University property. And not surprisingly, some UI students do not agree with the ban and are speaking out for their civil liberties.

A group of mass communications students at the university surveyed undergraduate students’ agreement and compliance with the ban. Over 200 undergraduate students completed a short survey detailing their smoking habits, their agreement with the ban, the overall fairness of the ban, and identified students’ perceived benefits of the ban, if any.

A large majority of the sample (88.57 percent), which was 56 percent female, did not smoke cigarettes and would consider themselves non-smokers. Of the sample that did smoke, 8 percent were female and 2 percent were male. The low percentage of smokers on the Iowa City campus makes a strong statement for the effectiveness of the UI smoking ban.

When asked if students were aware of the smoking ban on campus, an overwhelming percentage, 97.1 percent, stated they were aware of the smoking ban on campus. And how could one not be aware of the highly publicized ban when all UI owned buildings are plastered with signs that say, “No Smoking within 25 feet of this Building.”

It seems almost all UI students are aware of the smoking ban, but this does not mean they agree with it.

Of the 210 students who completed the survey, a majority had strong feelings towards the ban. Sixty eight (68.8) percent of students polled “strongly agreed” with the ban, and 10.4 percent of those polled, “strongly disagreed” with the ban. Those against the ban see it as “the singling out of smoking” and suggest what is really going on here is “moralizing, punishing smokers, showing intolerance and trying to drive smokers away from the campus.”

So how do UI students feel about the fairness of the ban? According to the smoking ban survey, a slight majority, 41.1 percent, believes the smoking ban is fair to smokers. A small percentage, 13.9 percent, believes the smoking ban is unfair to smokers. However, is the ban fair to smokers who now huddle together on public sidewalks and designated smoking areas outside their jobs or favorite bars to get their nicotine fix?

According to reports, the paramount reason cited to uphold the ban is the health benefits. A large majority of survey participants, 70.8 percent, “strongly agree” that benefits of the smoking ban are health. Only 7.4 percent of those surveyed “strongly disagree” that the ban benefits health.

A 2008 study from Scotland provides strong evidence that public bans on smoking improve health by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke. According to the study, hospital admissions for heart attacks and acute coronary problems fell 17 percent overall, and even more for non-smokers a year after Scotland banned smoking in public places.

David Cohen, director of cardiovascular research at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO is quoted as saying, “There has long been a claim from smokers that they are affecting their own bodies, and why should the public care? This shows that the public should absolutely care … that is an incredibly powerful finding.”

The study also found that nonsmokers accounted for 67% of the overall reduction in heart-disease hospitalizations, and non-smokers saw a 20% reduction in their hospital admissions following the ban. Smokers’ admissions were down 14%.

Agreement for the smoking ban seems to be widespread among UI students, and research continues to provide evidence of the many health benefits related to the ban. No studies have been conducted at the UI Hospitals to test the health benefits of the smoking ban on campus. However, the mass communications students who conducted the survey would like to pursue a more extensive survey later in the fall.

Jordan Taylor
Poll Story

University of Iowa Dissatisfaction with Parking

A recent study conducted at The University Of Iowa by a group of undergraduate students reveled the dissatisfaction with parking policies both on campus and downtown Iowa City.

For the survey, the response rate was 27.3% and the sampling error was 2.6%. So out of the 301 undergrad students that participated in the survey, it showed that 70% of them were unsatisfied with the parking situation here on campus and downtown. There was only a small percentage of 3.5% of students who actually claimed to be satisfied with the parking.

The students that conducted the survey thought that the freshman would not be as affected by the parking situation or would not have as much experience with it because they do not have cars and they have a bus system that picks them up and drops them off.

Also, in the survey students who received multiple tickets were found to be more unsatisfied then other who did not, and students who have had other problems like being late to class were more unsatisfied with the parking situations then the students who have not had those problems.

Possible solutions to these problems would be to add many more spots around campus or turn a parking ramp into a student only parking ramp where it is prepaid. Other solutions are to use u-bill/debit card meters so that the meters actually get paid.

This is an important thing for the students at the University, and the Administration/city should really look into trying to fix this problem and implement some of these solutions ore there will be a lot of angry people in Iowa City.

Ty Tannatt
Poll Story
May 6, 2010
College Students are on Conan’s Side.
In a recent poll done by students at the University of Iowa, it appears as though college kids prefer watching Conan O’brien’s Late Show almost twice as much as any other late night talk show including the man who took back his time slot Jay Leno. The study showed that 36.4% watched Conan, compared to 21.7% who watched Leno. The study also included David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, and a category for other late night entertainers. All three of the other late night categories were doubled up by the fans of Conan.
This is quite an interesting find considering NBC just awarded Jay Leno the Tonight Show, after his prime time show wasn’t up to par. Conan was forced to decide whether to take his old show back (Late Night with Conan O’brien) or move on with his career. He did the latter and is now going to be appearing on a late night show on the cable network TBS where he will have a younger crowd to support him.
Another major finding in the poll concluded that 44% believe the situation favored Conan O’brien. So it seems as though people believe his Late Show wasn’t the best and something new is what is best for him.
At the same time 48.5% believe the situation favored Jay Leno. This makes a lot of sense because when Leno was on the Late Show his was number 1 in ratings for many years. It appears as though college students believe he is at his best while on the Late Show.
Students also suggested that they believed the majority of the public would like to see Conan O’brien on the Late Show and believed that NBC’s ratings will be negatively affected. College students appear to be behind Conan on the Late Night Show controversy. They will get their wish in November when his new show will start on TBS.