Jeopardy!'s 2018-19 contestants - where are they from?

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mfc248
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Jeopardy!'s 2018-19 contestants - where are they from?

Post by mfc248 » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:30 pm

(This is a lightly edited repost of something I wrote on r/Jeopardy this past Monday.)

Now that the 2018-19 season of Jeopardy! is complete, we have another full season's worth of data to look at.

Here's the full breakdown of players by Designated Market Area (DMA) for Season 35. Also, a comparison of some data from this season against the previous two. All the numbers in these tables consider only those players who made their first appearance on the program in those respective seasons.

The most commonly seen market on Jeopardy! this season was… well, it was a tie, between New York (WABC) and Washington, DC (WJLA), each having 39 players appear. (Los Angeles (KABC), with three representatives in the final week, came up just behind with 38). DC and LA tied for the most players in regular play, with 37 each; New York trailed with 33. The big thing I note here is now many fewer NYC-area players there were on the show this season vice Seasons 34 (65) and 33 (63).

The decision process to grant visas to visit Trebekistan remains weighted toward the largest media markets. The ten largest in the United States (NYC, LA, Chicago, Philly, DFW, DC, Houston, the Bay Area, Boston, and Atlanta) make up 30% of TV-viewing households, but accounted for 50.9% (216/424) of all players, and 52.5% (199/379) in regular play. The three most represented markets - NYC, DC, and LA, the centers in which American media is tending to concentrate - gave us 27.4% (116/424) of contestants (28.2%, 107/379, regular play), both of which are down a couple of points from the previous two seasons.

46 states and the District of Columbia had at least one player on the show this season; only Hawaii, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Vermont not being represented. Hawaii has the longest drought, going back to Brandon Beckler on February 10, 2017. All 50 states and DC have been repped by a player since the start of 2016-17.

Canadian representation rose, both in absolute numbers and in terms of geographical diversity. 15 Canadians this season (up from 10 in 2017-18), from six different provinces - including one from Newfoundland and Labrador, that province's first representation on Jeopardy!, so far as J! Archive's data says.

Transitioning from statements of fact to expressions of opinion: none of this is meant to cast aspersions upon the show's production staff. Quoting myself from nearly two years ago: "This is a game show, not the House of Representatives - the producers need only embrace geographical diversity to the extent that, in their opinion, they believe it will drive ratings." (In light of the trend I noted in the paragraph immediately above, it might be prudent to amend that with "nor is it the House of Commons recently relocated to the West Block on Parliament Hill.")

Two constraints act upon the contestant coordinators in this regard. They can only choose who auditions from those who choose to take (write) the online test, and they can only choose who gets The Call from those who audition, which is limited by where the show goes to audition. Some numbers back up the latter point. In the 30 weeks of Season 34 regular play prior to that season's Teachers Tournament, one Canadian and eight players from WBZ (CBS Boston) territory appeared. In the last ten weeks of last season, seven Canadians and ten Boston-area players took to Stage 10. Not coincidentally - at least to me - the show held auditions in both Boston and Toronto in November 2017. The state of Florida also points in this direction - 19 (15 regular) in Season 35, vice 5 (3 regular) in S34.

Here, in a protected Google Sheet, is all the contestant data for all three seasons.

───

Some additional things:
Here's the origin data for Season 34, and for Season 33 (markets only - TJ!F has the breakdown of 2016-17 by state/province).

My highlighting of the "media centers" (New York, DC, and LA) sprung from a chance encounter on Twitter with a point made by then-journalist (now-Bernie Sanders speechwriter) David Sirota, about how if forced to choose between returning to media full-time (i.e. relocating to one of those three cities) and remaining in Colorado, he'd choose the latter. He linked to a Columbia Journalism Review article noting that one-fifth of journalism jobs were located in New York, Washington, or Los Angeles in 2014, up from one-eighth in 2004. That immediately struck a chord in my head - "what a coincidence, or maybe not, that those are the three biggest source markets for Jeopardy! contestants!"

Tracking this is an outgrowth of a summer hiatus project; I constructed a countdown clock to the start of Season 33, but that year, it only showed it for 7:00 pm ET (I live outside Philadelphia). In 2017, I wanted to expand its accessibility to the whole country - and so, I needed to know every station and time the show aired on. And getting all that led me to compile and maintain my master list. Anyway… here's the countdown clock to the start of Season 36. (Unfortunately, it doesn't remember what you selected; if anyone can help me out with that, please let me know via PM and I'll gladly acknowledge upon implementation.)

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Mathew5000
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Re: Jeopardy!'s 2018-19 contestants - where are they from?

Post by Mathew5000 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:58 pm

mfc248 wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:30 pm
Canadian representation rose, both in absolute numbers and in terms of geographical diversity. 15 Canadians this season (up from 10 in 2017-18), from six different provinces - including one from Newfoundland and Labrador, that province's first representation on Jeopardy!, so far as J! Archive's data says.
Just a comment on this. If you Google "Kirsten Morry" you can find several web pages and tweets describing her as "the first resident of this province to appear on the show" (here) or "first ... contestant introduced as being from Newfoundland" (here). But one article at CBC.ca, which had originally reported similar information, now includes a correction:
"A previous version of this story stated that Kirsten Morry was the first known Newfoundlander to appear on Jeopardy. In fact, CBC News has since learned other people from this province have appeared on the program."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfound ... -1.4845356

One previous Newfoundlander is Trevor Janes who wrote a piece published in our national newspaper about the grief he received for saying he was "from" Ottawa when in fact he had just been living there a few years but was originally born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/fa ... le4301195/

The CBC correction specifically states there were other people from the province so I guess they learned of at least two, in addition to Kirsten Morry this season. Trevor Janes may be one of them. I'd be interested whether any others are in a similar position to Janes (i.e. originally from Newfoundland but introduced as being from somewhere else), or were there unarchived games with a contestant introduced as being from Newfoundland.

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Re: Jeopardy!'s 2018-19 contestants - where are they from?

Post by Archivists » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:06 pm

Mathew5000 wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:58 pm
mfc248 wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:30 pm
Canadian representation rose, both in absolute numbers and in terms of geographical diversity. 15 Canadians this season (up from 10 in 2017-18), from six different provinces - including one from Newfoundland and Labrador, that province's first representation on Jeopardy!, so far as J! Archive's data says.
Just a comment on this. If you Google "Kirsten Morry" you can find several web pages and tweets describing her as "the first resident of this province to appear on the show" (here) or "first ... contestant introduced as being from Newfoundland" (here). But one article at CBC.ca, which had originally reported similar information, now includes a correction:
"A previous version of this story stated that Kirsten Morry was the first known Newfoundlander to appear on Jeopardy. In fact, CBC News has since learned other people from this province have appeared on the program."
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfound ... -1.4845356

One previous Newfoundlander is Trevor Janes who wrote a piece published in our national newspaper about the grief he received for saying he was "from" Ottawa when in fact he had just been living there a few years but was originally born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/fa ... le4301195/

The CBC correction specifically states there were other people from the province so I guess they learned of at least two, in addition to Kirsten Morry this season. Trevor Janes may be one of them. I'd be interested whether any others are in a similar position to Janes (i.e. originally from Newfoundland but introduced as being from somewhere else), or were there unarchived games with a contestant introduced as being from Newfoundland.
Andy here, under the Archivists hat.

I was the one who had informed Kirsten that she would be the first person introduced as being from NL, to our knowledge.

Frankly, I stand by that action 100%. There have certainly been other Newfoundlanders on the show, but they were not introduced as such. As far as I know, the statement is correct.

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Re: Jeopardy!'s 2018-19 contestants - where are they from?

Post by MollyQMurphy » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:52 pm

On my paperwork, they specifically asked for the location where you are NOW, and excluded where you are FROM. I think this is because we filmed little promos called "hometown howdies", but they insisted on using your current location. They run those in the viewing market of your current station, NOT your actual home town (unless, of course, they're the same).

If I were allowed to choose the market and the hometown, I would not have used my current one, because I am caretaking my mom, not from this area. It wasn't up to me. So probably the person introduced from Ottawa rather than NB deserves a break from that criticism.
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