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Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
Numeracy for journos
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Numeracy for journos

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  • Barbara’s Directive: What teaching techniques and strategies have proved successful in getting math-phobic students to think quantitatively?
  • An example of how quant thinking/analysis could be helpful in writing a story about this list, which would SEEM to be QUALITATIVE. http://www.kk.org/cooltools/the-best-magazi.php Get entries in DB or spreadsheet. Do sorts looking for most-mentioned author(s), publication(s), subject(s). Create timeline of these?
  • Always give thought to using charts, graphs and MAPS in Analytic stage to understand relationships and, possibly to add to the telling of the story Tip for bar charts: array by quantity first, NOT alphabetically.  If you want emphasis, then perhaps boldface country or state or use some other color to pop out.  Maps contain more information per square inch than anything in text
  • DO NOT use NYT style.   i.e. start with the oldest and flow to the most recent.  Don't make the reader backtrack to try to understand the numbers.
  • Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html?scp=1&sq=arizona%20crime%20statistics&st=cse
  • All of these are from the same story. Also, note that the percent of change can be estimated by dropping the two rightmost digits, subtracting to get the difference and then “estimate” the percent of change.
  • For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000. Nationally, the crime rate declined to 455 incidents per 100,000 people, from 507 in 2000. But the rate for property crime, the kind that people may experience most often, increased in the state, to 4,082 per 100,000 residents in 2008 from 3,682 in 2000. Preliminary data for 2009 suggests that this rate may also be falling in the state’s biggest cities.
  • For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000. Nationally, the crime rate declined to 455 incidents per 100,000 people, from 507 in 2000. But the rate for property crime, the kind that people may experience most often, increased in the state, to 4,082 per 100,000 residents in 2008 from 3,682 in 2000. Preliminary data for 2009 suggests that this rate may also be falling in the state’s biggest cities.
  • Calculating Rates: e.g. 2,000 murders / 7,300,000 population = .0002739 * 100,000 Murder rate p/100,000 = 27.39
  • http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_calculate_inflation_rate
  • Transcript

    • 1. “ Writing The Numbers” Tom Johnson Institute for Analytic Journalism Santa Fe, New Mexico t o m @ j t j o h n s o n . c o m
    • 2. “Theory of Journalistic Process <ul><li>Every potential story has both quantitative and qualitative feedstock </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative often essential for context; degree of change; historical evolution </li></ul>
    • 3. “Theory of Journalistic Process <ul><li>We teach the 5Ws & H; also drill into students: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How many? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How big? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to measure change in these? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>May decide NOT to use these, but must be part of research/reporting </li></ul>
    • 4. &quot;Theory of Journalistic Process&quot; <ul><li>Data In  Analysis  Info Out </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find and retrieve data; (log URLs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Always work with COPY of original downloaded data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always attach URL or other source notes to data </li></ul></ul>
    • 5. Basic &quot;Theory of Process&quot; <ul><li>Maintain logbook of process and methods in cleaning and analyzing </li></ul><ul><li>Save dataviz product to use with story </li></ul>
    • 6. Massaging Data <ul><li>Gather quantitative data </li></ul><ul><li>Estimate </li></ul><ul><li>Clean data </li></ul><ul><li>Count and categorize </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Categorical change (proportion) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change over time (% of change) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistical relationships and significance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Write it! </li></ul>
    • 7. Think quantitatively; think visually <ul><li>Numeric quantitative analysis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add, subtract, multiply, divide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple statistics, then more complex </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visual quantitative analysis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chart and graphs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maps </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visual analysis = multiple values: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand phenomena and its context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use visuals to show the story </li></ul></ul>
    • 8. Putting words to the numbers <ul><li>Writing numbers in first instance: </li></ul><ul><ul><li><100 = hard numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Btwn 100 and 1,000  % and hard data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>>1,000  percentage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Down in story, always supply hard numbers </li></ul><ul><li>Post ALL the data on the web; include URL at end of story </li></ul>
    • 9. Putting words to the numbers <ul><li>Avoid placing two quantities side-by-side </li></ul><ul><li>“ In 2010, 307,674 ticket-buyers showed up at the Mile-High Stadium.” </li></ul>
    • 10. Write with the flow of time <ul><li>Western literacy culture thinks/moves left to right: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Calendars (usually) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grade school “Age of Exploration” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeline tools: sometimes vertical but more often left to right. Ergo, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Construct sentences with numbers in “from past [data]  present [data]” form </li></ul>
    • 11. Is there an editor in the house? Source: http://www. nytimes .com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html? scp =1&sq= arizona %20crime%20statistics& st = cse “ For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000.”
    • 12. Bad construction <ul><li>Because most recent data is first, context is not apparent </li></ul><ul><li>The reader has to doubleback direction in the flow of time </li></ul>Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html?scp=1&sq=arizona%20crime%20statistics&st=cse “ For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, …. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000 .”
    • 13. Terrible sentence construction <ul><li>What’s going up? What’s going down? “may ALSO be???” </li></ul><ul><li>Reader is whip-sawed figuring out what came first; and where are we now </li></ul>Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html?scp=1&sq=arizona%20crime%20statistics&st=cse “ But the rate for property crime … increased in the state to 4,082 per 100,000 residents in 2008 from 3,682 in 2000 . Preliminary data for 2009 suggests that this rate may also be falling in the state’s biggest cities.”
    • 14. But then comes the correction <ul><li>Correction: June 27, 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>“ An article last Sunday about the debate over immigration reform and how people’s perceptions sometimes run counter to crime statistics misstated the change in property crimes in Arizona between 2000 and 2008. The number of property crimes went down, not up.” </li></ul>Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html?scp=1&sq=arizona%20crime%20statistics&st=cse “ For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000.” <ul><li>… declined from 532 incidents per 100,000 in 2000 to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008 </li></ul>
    • 15. But then comes the correction Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html?scp=1&sq=arizona%20crime%20statistics&st=cse “ For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000.” REWRITE … declined from 532 incidents per 100,000 in 2000 to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008.
    • 16. Bad construction <ul><li>What’s the % of change? </li></ul><ul><li>Would it help to literally see a trend line? </li></ul>Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/us/20crime.html?scp=1&sq=arizona%20crime%20statistics&st=cse “ Nationally, the crime rate declined to 455 incidents per 100,000 people, from 507 in 2000.”
    • 17. Quant. Analysis improves writing <ul><li>Clumsy writing can be avoided if reporter first builds a vertical bar graph </li></ul>
    • 18. The “Fundamental Five” Statistics <ul><li>Calculating percent of change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(New-Old) ÷ Old * 100 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>((new/old) –1) * 100 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Calculating proportion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(# of parts ÷ TOTAL # of parts) * 100 = % of whole </li></ul></ul>
    • 19. The “Fundamental Five” Statistics <ul><li>Calculating Rates: (incidents ÷ population) * 10,000 (or 100,000) </li></ul><ul><li>Calculating Ratios: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take first of two numbers being compared and divide by second. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>600 ÷ 30 = 20 [Ratio is 20-to-1; if fraction, round off] </li></ul></ul>
    • 20. The “Fundamental Five” Statistics <ul><li>Calculating Inflation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(CPI Now ÷ CPI Then) * Item Price Then = Item then in today’s $$$ [Tool: http://www. westegg .com/inflation/] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calculating INFLATION RATE CPI in 2000 is 3,500 CPI in 2001 is 4,500 What's the inflation rate? 4500 - 3500 = 1000 1000/3500 = .2857.... .2857 * 100 = 28.57 is the INFLATION RATE </li></ul></ul>
    • 21. Some resources <ul><li>Numeracy in the Newsroom http://newsnumeracy.wordpress.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>Math and Statistics Toolbox Cards for Journalists http://www.notrainnogain.org/Train/Exer/Num/NUME.asp </li></ul><ul><li>175+ Data and Information Visualization Examples and Resource http://www.meryl.net/2008/01/22/175-data-and-information-visualization-examples-and-resources/ </li></ul>
    • 22. Resources: Statistics <ul><li>Niles, Robert. &quot;Statistics Every Writer Should Know“ http://www.robertniles.com/stats/ </li></ul><ul><li>IRE Tipsheets: http://www.ire.org/resourcecenter/tipsheets.php </li></ul>
    • 23. Resources: Data Visualization <ul><li>FlowingData: http://flowingdata.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>Flowing Data http://flowingdata.com/2010/07/22/7-basic-rules-for-making-charts-and-graphs/ </li></ul><ul><li>InfoViz Wiki:&quot;Data Visualization Links“ http://www. infovis - wiki .net/index. php ?title=Data_Visualization_Link </li></ul>
    • 24. <ul><li>PowerPoint file at: </li></ul><ul><li>slideshare.net/jtjohnson/numeracy-for-journos </li></ul>Tom Johnson Institute for Analytic Journalism Santa Fe, New Mexico t o m @ j t j o h n s o n . c o m

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