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Maths and stats for journalists

Chapter


Abstract


  • Let's face it, journalists tend to disavow any love of mathematics. Their stock-in-trade-so they claimis

    words, not statistics. Yet the reality is that journalists deal with data on a daily basis. It is integral to

    almost all journalistic tasks we tackle, from examining match reports on sporting contests, or increases

    in interest rates, housing prices or the consumer price index; to analysing opinion polls about the

    popularity of our politicians, budget accounts or share price movements. Despite the common refrain of

    journalists-'I hated maths when I was at school' -we constantly seem to look for ways to incorporate

    statistics into our stories. We do so because they seem to provide our stories with an extra level of

    gravitas and meaning, despite the warning inherent in the old adage: 'lies, damned lies and statistics'.

    In this chapter we return to some of the fundamentals everyone learned at school and talk about

    how they can be incorporated into our writing. In doing so, we also consider some of the traps that can

    undermine our writing if we are not careful.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Tanner, S. J.. (2013). Maths and stats for journalists. In S. J.. Tanner & N. Richardson (Eds.), Journalism Research and Investigation in a Digital World (pp. 103-115). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780195518337

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1020

Book Title


  • Journalism Research and Investigation in a Digital World

Start Page


  • 103

End Page


  • 115

Place Of Publication


  • South Melbourne

Abstract


  • Let's face it, journalists tend to disavow any love of mathematics. Their stock-in-trade-so they claimis

    words, not statistics. Yet the reality is that journalists deal with data on a daily basis. It is integral to

    almost all journalistic tasks we tackle, from examining match reports on sporting contests, or increases

    in interest rates, housing prices or the consumer price index; to analysing opinion polls about the

    popularity of our politicians, budget accounts or share price movements. Despite the common refrain of

    journalists-'I hated maths when I was at school' -we constantly seem to look for ways to incorporate

    statistics into our stories. We do so because they seem to provide our stories with an extra level of

    gravitas and meaning, despite the warning inherent in the old adage: 'lies, damned lies and statistics'.

    In this chapter we return to some of the fundamentals everyone learned at school and talk about

    how they can be incorporated into our writing. In doing so, we also consider some of the traps that can

    undermine our writing if we are not careful.

Publication Date


  • 2013

Citation


  • Tanner, S. J.. (2013). Maths and stats for journalists. In S. J.. Tanner & N. Richardson (Eds.), Journalism Research and Investigation in a Digital World (pp. 103-115). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9780195518337

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1020

Book Title


  • Journalism Research and Investigation in a Digital World

Start Page


  • 103

End Page


  • 115

Place Of Publication


  • South Melbourne