Q&A on the News

Q: Nielsen says 111 million people watched the Super Bowl this year. How does Nielsen come up with this figure? Is it different from how Nielsen comes up with its figures for any TV show?

-- Ray Prior, Newnan

A: Nielsen measures the Super Bowl just like it does any other program, officials told Q&A on the News in an e-mail. Ratings are derived from a random sample consisting of homes that are recruited to reflect the entire U.S. population. The company installs meters on every TV in the sample, and it tracks every show that is watched. It also asks panelists to "sign in" when they watch a show so that the company can tell which member of the household is viewing. This step enables Nielsen to determine the age/gender/race of the audience. The same technique is applied to the Super Bowl, which was the biggest programming event of the year (and in TV history), and to everyday viewing, officials wrote.

Q: There is a picture of the Chattahoochee on Page B1 of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Feb. 5 issue that shows something tan crossing the river. I can't make it out. Is it just mist that caught some strange rays?

-- David Nugent, Canton

A: It likely was a ripple in the water or a reflection from the sun, because nothing was crossing the water, photographer Johnny Crawford told Q&A on the News.

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or e-mail q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).