Title Your Study with Care

Today's New York Times features an article on a new study on residential segregation by Edward Glaeser of Harvard, and Jacob Vigdor of Duke University.  I'd like to draw your attention to what the study actually finds, and how it's being pitched to the national audience.

The study is produced by the Manhattan Institute'Center for State and Local Leadership. The Institute is widely recognized as a conservative research organization. 

The title of the report, as written by its authors, reads: "The End of the Segregated Century."

The NYT's headline reads: "Segregation Curtailed in U.S. Cities, Study Finds."

The NYT's tweet reads: "Nation's Cities Almost Free of Segregation"

So it seems, the study must tell us that segregation has ended, or is about to-- right?

Nope.  What it tells us, points out Doug Massey of Princeton University, a nationally recognized expert on the topic, is that segregation has declined substantially in metropolitan areas with few black residents.   I wish I could say more, but this study-- despite being covered in the New York Times-- does not currently seem to appear anywhere on the Web!

So why not title the study "Shifting Patterns of Segregation"and the headline "Segregation Declines in Some U.S. Cities, Study Finds?"

Hmmm.  Think it'd get as much attention?  Fuel as much conservative fire? Yeah, that's what I thought.

PS. Want a more nuanced take on the changing face of segregation? I recommend this study.