Monthly Archives: December 2013

The special relationship between numeracy and journalism

numbers_300I have to be honest.  My relationship with numeracy was never friendly.  We actually had major disagreements.

Quite a few journalists have the idea that numeracy is a kind of virus which, if caught, can damage the literary of brain, leading to a permanent loss of vocabulary.  This is nonsense, says Davis Randall.

He believes that many stories are based on statistics, in nowadays.  Well, indeed the use of statistics from several organizations can help a journalist derive plenty of themes.

After the first shock reading the task that consisted the word “numbers” in it, i started my own research around political and social subjects and I was amazed by the number of statistics i found, that could really help me.

I took a first look in different organizations and governmental departments and find out GamCare.  GamCare is an organization that deals with people who suffer through a gambling problem.

This organization states that 73% of of adult population in Britain had gambled within the past year.  Also, 2% of the British under the age of 16 were identified as problematic gamblers.  Most of the gamblers that seek for help to GamCare are settled in South East (6,511,647 people), while the other areas of Britain have quite less, but also a very high number, of gambling.

A similar organization to GamCare is Gambling Watch.  This organization is producing several reports about gambling problem.  Its latest one report was publish in September 2013 and it states that 15% of young teenagers had engage in some form of gambling that month.  Immediately we realize the high increase of the percentage, in contrast with GamCare’s report.

Both organizations offers a great variety of reports that could really derive several themes for the problem of gambling in the UK.  You can write about the increase of the number of young people gambling, how government can help these people, how these big organizations help these people, and hundreds of other stories.

Except social issues, I am highly interested on politics.  Writing and criticizing the political scene of the world is not always enough.  For that reason i made a research and try to find how statistics and reports could help me to find new stories.

The European Commission has an amazing number of press releases and reports.  I was amazed by the fact that every couple weeks they publish a new statistic about a new subject.  I found it interesting to open a report about the European Cohesion Policy.  The Union is planning to invest €164 billion for less developed regions, €32bn for transition regions and €49bn for more developed countries.  They divide the investment in two parts: Development Funds and Social Funds.

Another department of the EU is the European Parliament, which has information about the latest news within the Union.  But, i was excited with the infographics.  They are surveys about several subjects (immigration, economy, criminality) considering the European citizens .  The unique about them is that they have short phrases and pictures, that make a report more interesting.

Statistics and reports are very valuable for a journalist.  Many articles can derive from these reports, while there are plenty of themes in each one that can create a new story.  Of course not all the organizations are authentic.  A journalist should make a good research before writing an article that is based on statistics.  Check the valuability of the organization, subscribe to receive emails from them and add them to your news feeds.  It is guaranteed; you will receive an alert everytime the organization publishes a new report, and then you will be able to write your story.

It seems that numbers are not so scary at all.