If there are two sets of figures, and one presents a negative news story, you can guarantee the bad news story is the one that will get all the air time. Nowhere is this clearer than the latest set of figures to be released by analyst house Gartner.
In its latest Gartner EXP (executive programs for those of you who speak English and not acronym) Gartner announced in its press release headline "Gartner survey of 900 CIOS shows 42 per cent of respondents decreased their IT budgets first quarter". Buried in the fourth paragraph of this news release is the sentence: "Fifty-four per cent of respondents reported no change in their IT budget, with the remaining four per cent reporting an increase".
Guess which figure appeared in all the news outlets today? (Bar CIO that is). Now I could waste my time and your time going on about the methods of the news production and how "no change" is not a good news story. But if 42 per cent can be presented as major news with a bit of spin, then surely 54 per cent can also be presented with a bit of hype as news. Gartner does, after all have a Hype product, so you get the impression they know a thing or two about hype.
The more you see of these news stories the more you wonder if a large part of this recession is nothing but a set of studies with conflicting numbers and poorly researched headlines.
The sad truth of course is that we are in a recession, as today's news about LDV shows, but the Daily Mailesque obsession with adding a thick layer of panic to every story when the figures show completely the opposite is very concerning.
I spend as much time with CIOs as I can, and as yet, I haven't had one sink into a tale of woe like the Gartner figures or news headlines present. Yes all of them tell me they have had to make some difficult decisions and some projects have been delayed or strategies changed, but I don't see the poverty or economic cataclysm that some would have you believe is around us.