Q&A on the News

Q: What are the Iowa caucuses, and why are they so important during the election?

-- Jeff Jones, Cartersville

A: The Iowa caucuses have been the first event in the nominating process for president since the Democratic Party moved its caucus from the spring to January in 1972. The Republicans moved their caucus up in 1976. Even though Iowa doesn't represent a true cross section of the U.S., the caucuses are an initial indication of which candidates lead their parties and who might win that party's nomination for president.

Q: A comment was made in the AJC recently regarding coaching football as one of the most stressful jobs, which was referring to Falcons coach Mike Smith’s recent hospital visit. I wonder if that is true and what would be considered the most stressful jobs?

-- Martha Hunt, Hoschton

A: Careercast.com, a California-based job search site, identified these professions as the most stressful in 2011:

1. Commercial airline pilot

2. Public relations officer

3. Corporate executive (senior)

4. Photojournalist

5. Newscaster

6. Advertising account executive

7. Architect

8. Stockbroker

9. Emergency medical technician

10. Real estate agent

The Careercast.com ranking analyzed 200 salaried positions based on 11 factors that can evoke stress. Those include: putting their own lives or lives of others at risk, hiring outlook/growth potential, competitiveness, physical demands (including long hours), travel, working in the public eye, deadlines, environmental conditions and hazards encountered while performing the job. Athletic coach was not among the 200 positions analyzed by Careercast.com.

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