Dependable Erection

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Five Ws

Been a long time since i took a journalism class, but i think they're still teaching the 5 Ws to would be journalists.

What's missing from this story?
Duke University remains an economic juggernaut here says a report released Thursday showing the school had a combined $3.4 billion city/county impact in 2006 and 2007.

The study
is conducted every two years. The latest figure is up $200 million from the 2004-05 report and up by 62 percent over the 10 years since the first economic impact study was released.

"In my more than 30 years in Durham, I have always appreciated that Duke University is an important economic engine for Durham," said Phail Wynn, who is retiring as Durham Technical Community College president at the end of the month. The 27-year Durham Tech leader will become Duke's new vice president of Durham and regional affairs

Duke paid the more than $7.3 million in city and county taxes and fees in the latest fiscal year, including nearly $1.9 million in sales tax.

The university is also the county's largest employer, with a total work force of 39,782, of whom 19,755 are Durham residents and make up the largest portion of the economic impact figure. The resident workers' salaries and benefits total $931 million.

The study is based on a standard formula used by economists to estimate the overall impact of money spent in a community, the university said in a written statement.

The basis of the study included: the amount of spending in Durham by the university and its health system for goods and services; the amount of money spent locally by students and visitors; and the salaries and benefits received by Duke employees living in Durham.

The analysis assumed each dollar spent by Duke changed hands only once.

It's entirely possible, indeed likely, that the study is an accurate accounting of Duke's financial impact on the community. (If anything, using a multiplier of 1 for the number of times each dollar spent changes hands understates the impact. Adding - on the other hand, the article makes no mention of the costs of services Durham provides to Duke; we have no way of knowing whether or not the study does either.) But it would be a whole lot easier to assess the validity of the study if we knew just who had written it, don't you think?

UPDATE: Holy shit! I would never in a million years have guessed that the study was prepared for the Duke University Office of Public Affairs.

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