“ If I wanted to do math, I wouldn’t have majored in journalism!”
As a journalism professor, I hear this often. Most journalists would rather craft words than crunch numbers. But many stories require numbers. There are news stories about salaries, budgets, test scores, surveys, political polls, census data, etc. And nearly all sports stories involve numbers. So not only do journalists need to be good writers, they also need some math skills. This slideshow tutorial will cover the basics.
Mark Grabowski Journalism Professor Marist College
Be careful! A 200 percent increase is not the same as “double.” It’s a 100 percent increase that is actually the figure that is twice the size of the previous number. A 200 percent increase is triple the original.
It’s OK to round off large numbers in your stories. For example, you can use 1.4 million instead of 1,421,317. But be careful rounding to just two digits – rounding 1,562,000 up to 1.6 million leaves out almost 40,000 of whatever. That’s a pretty significant amount. So, it may be more accurate to round down to 1.56 million