In the wake of this week’s numeracy and grammar test, most of my fellow journalism classmates expressed their contradictory thoughts on the one paper that included numbers and mathematical symbols. Numbers, in general, can be perilous if not handled properly, especially in news reporting as they can be the foundation of a particular story (Journalist’s Resource, 2014).
According to Wickham (2003), numbers can become complicated. Thus, it is the journalist’s role to convey their meanings directly and effectively to the readers or news consumers. Indeed, Kamath (2009) argues that having a fundamental understanding of probability, statistics, averages, percentages and any other relationships with numbers is crucial to the world of journalism.
Although the 20-minute exam was only a competency test, I learned a lot of things like calculating the GST of a purchase and the percentage of a whole number. As a girl who despises the world of mathematics, I never gave these concepts much attention until the day before our in-class test. It truly is the journalist’s job to turn these problematical numbers and equations into its simplest form in order to make it understandable for people – be it a project about a government’s budget, the average of graduate students or the annual revenue of an Airline company.
Furthermore, after learning and reading some scholarly articles about maths in journalism, I’ve come to realise how crucial mathematics is for journalism, not just for mathematicians or accountants.
Overall, I thought I did a great job in my numeracy test.
Journalist’s Resource (2014). Retrieved May 29, 2015 from http://journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/foundations/math-for-journalists
Kamath, M.V. (2009). Professional Journalism. Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd.
Wickham, K. (2003). Maths Tools for Journalists (2nd e.d). USA: Marion Street Press, Inc.