Lies, damn lies and statistics!

14 02 2013

This week  Alastair Skeffington and Belinda Kemp visited Brighton Journalist Works to talk to our students about the importance of understanding and reporting scientific and statistical information correctly.

Student Ros Branagan wrote:

New research has shown that 89% of statistics used by journalists are incorrect.

Is a sentence like this over-simplified, misleading, or just plain inaccurate?

These are the kinds of pitfalls that can easily befall journalists, many of whom don’t come from a scientific background.

Thankfully stats experts Alastair and Belinda ran a fascinating, informative and interactive workshop for Brighton Journalist Works students to flag up the essential skills needed to write about scientific data with clarity and accuracy.

For someone like me, who doesn’t have a head figures, this workshop was a must. I had feared flashbacks to GCSE maths, but luckily 100% of this blogger has now learned to fear stats just a fraction less.