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If you don’t have a basic understanding of math and statistics, you aren’t qualified to be a journalist

The Functional Art

At the 2017 IRE and NICAR conference in Florida, Reveal’s Jennifer LaFleur and NBC’s Ronald Campbell spoke on a panel about spreading data literacy in news organizations. Alberto Cairo was worried by some of what they said. For example, they estimated that four out of five reporters and editors they train cannot calculate percent change. “Let me be blunt here: If your level of numeracy is so abysmal, you aren’t qualified to be a professional journalist,” Cairo argues. “Nobody who lacks a working understanding of math, statistics, and scientific reasoning can properly inform the public. Not knowing such basic stuff is the equivalent of being unable to write coherent sentences.”

+ Earlier: Our Strategy Study on how to get started or go deeper with data journalism in your newsroom

+ If you couldn’t make it to NICAR this weekend, here’s a roundup of what happened, including tips on making data approachable for younger audiences and “putting your town under a microscope, and keeping it there” (Nieman Lab)

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