Knology and PBS Newshour have produced this guidance for journalists to effectively report numbers, but is a useful guide for anyone communicating numbers, with do's and don'ts covering health and medicine, climate, and economics in particular.
"Numbers don't always help your audience. Explore our "do's" and "don'ts" to make sure your reporting hits home."
This new guide, based on research on US audiences, was created to best help audiences understand qualitative content - with a particular focus on news reporting.
Whilst it's primary intended users are journalists, as a general guide it is also useful for anyone, including researchers, looking to convey numbers as part of their communication and engagement efforts.
The guide, which takes the form of a pithy website, covers key topics such as:
- Questions to consider before writing content
- Writing your headline (or title)
- Explaining and presenting polling data
- Health and Medicine, including on presenting risk
Each of the topic specific sections include guidance on using graphs and visuals.
This guide was developed as part of a multi-year project jointly undertaken by PBS NewsHour and Knology (a social sciences nonprofit). The project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (award # DRL-1906802), is called “Meaningful Math: News Media for Increasing Adult Statistical Literacy,” and its key goal is to discover ways for making numbers in the news more accessible to the general public.
The guidance has been distilled from this research, including after having been put into practice by the broadcast journalists at PBS to gauge what works.
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