It’s not okay to suck at math

“Almost every story contains a number, be it a statistic, an address, or someone’s age,” writes Craig Silverman in a recent Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) column about journalists and math skills.

In “Sorry, Wrong Number,” Silverman notes that “journalists deal with numbers every single day, and yet so many of us willingly profess ignorance or fear when faced with simple arithmetic.”

He says it’s time to “recognize that handling and interpreting math and numbers are some of the cornerstones of journalism” and explains that it can be easy with a number of available resources that are aimed specifically at journalists.

Check out Silverman’s column to find these resources as well as a few funny numerical errors. But as Silverman notes:

“Yes, amusing stuff. But the core issue here is learning to prevent these mistakes. We have to lay waste to the idea that it’s okay for journalists to suck at math.”