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Writing With Numbers

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Martindales' Reference Desk: Online Calculators
Links to dozens of types of online calculators.

Newslab's Getting the Numbers Right

JournoResource: Math for Journalists
Covers some of the basics: mean, median, etc. Also has links to other tools.

Robert Niles: Statistics Writers Should Know
An excellent reference primer from the LA Times' Robert Niles on stats for journalists.Start here with several math tutorials!

Robert Niles: Figuring Percent Change

Newsthinking.com's Math Refresher
A great quick-study in figure percentages, ratios, etc.

The Megapenny Project
Help readers visualize large numbers in terms of pennies. Great for graphics.

Percent Change Calculator
Check your accuracy with this tool.

Inflation Calculator
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Currency Converter
Universal conversion tool.

Census: Statistical Abstract of the United States
The complete abstracts going back to 1995, mostly .PDFs of the book pages.

Currency Converter

Global Rich List Database

Research Statistical Terms Primer for Journalists
Great primer from Harvard.

Math Mistakes
Common errors by reporters, advertisers, politicians and activists.

American Math Society: What's New in Mathematics
Includes a 'Feature Column' monthly essays on mathematical topics), 'Math in the Media' (highlights of math news from science literature and the current media), 'Math Digest' (summaries of articles on mathematics), and the 'AMS Public Awareness Office'(press releases, contacts for journalists, and more).

Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics

No Train, No Gain: Numeracy Exercises

No Train, No Gain: Numeracy Resources

Matt Baron's "Go Figure" Site
Great tips for handling stats.

Center for Investigative Journalism: Statistics for Journalists
A 12-page tipsheet.

Exploring Data
A resource for educators who are teaching introduction to statistics, with some basic instruction that could be helpful to journalists.

No Train No Gain: Tips and Exercises
Handouts from training gurus Jack Hart and Joe Grimm and exercises by Debbie Wolfe.

Newslab's Internet Resources for News with Numbers
This site includes links to helpful online calculators.

Newslab's "Getting the Numbers Right"

Phil Meyer's Mathematics Competency Test for Journalists

Project for Excellence in Journalism's "Using Numbers"

Geneva International Forum
A listing of international organizations located in Geneva. The database is searchable by keywords.

MSNBC: Estimating Large Crowds
Steve Doig of Arizona State University uses a process to estimate large crowds. He uses Obama's Presidential Inauguration as an example.

Online Conversion Tool

Calculate Me

Mortgage Calculator

Salary Calculator

Distance Finder Calculator

Cost-of-Living Calculator

Currency Exchange Rates

Universal Currency Converter

How Much Is That?
A database of facts regarding various monetary values, etc. Good for conversions.

Investopedia: How the Dow Jones Is Calculated

FinanceCCH.com: Retirement Planning Calculator

CNNMoney.com: Retirement Planning Calculator

AOL Retirement Planning Calculator

Columbia University: Writing About Derivatives

John Allen Paulos: Mathematics
John Allen Paulos is a great source for math for journalists. He is a Professor of Mathematics at Temple and is a regular columnist on ABCNews.com.

History of Mathematics
Lots of solid background information.

Newsengin.com
Created by reporters, this site offers free computer tools, including cost-of-living calculators that adjust for inflation.

Online Conversion Tool
Site has more than 8,100 calculators and conversion tables.

Aneki.com
Rankings and statistics on hundreds of topics and countries. The world?s cleanest country, the country with the most mobile phones per capita, etc.

SalaryExpert.com
A free provider of salary information from a veteran compensation and benefits consulting firm. It site shows pay data for over 30,000 jobs and displays pay data for more than 45,000 U.S./Canada cities.

Stats.org
Explores how journalists can use statistics.

WebMath
More than 1,000 pre-solved problems, many with free answers, for geometry, trig, algebra, etc. A very handy site for journalists.

Salary Converter
Compare what you make with sports, entertainment stars.

ExploreMath.com
Animated equations show you how the variables change. Great for working out problems.

Pew Research Center: The Daily Number
Daily stat "that highlights an important finding or trend."

Statistics.com

Online Conversion
Offers thousands of calculators of various kinds.

QUData.com: Data Mining Tools and Library
Data mining and knowledge for journalists or anyone needing online calculators. The site features online tools and library resources.

Molecular Weight Calculator
Just input the formula, and it returns the molecular weight to 13 decimal places.

Disability Insurance Needs Calculator

Math for Journalists
Bruce Garrison of Miami University has put together this remedial tutorial.

Homefair.com
This site also has a good salary calculator.

Distance Converter

Currency Converter
A great site, but always double-check your findings against another calculator.

QUData: Data Mining Tools and Library
A great collection of online calculators, data mining, knowledge discovery online tools and library resources.

Federal Inflation Index
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Newsengin Inflation Calculator
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

FDIC: Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator
This interactive application that can help you learn about deposit insurance. Calculate the insurance coverage of your accounts at each FDIC-insured institution.

West Egg Inflation Calculator
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Auriton Solutions
Calculators figure your cost of credit and the size of a mortgage you can afford.

Bankrate.com Gas Price Calculators

CalculateWhat Online Calculators

UnitsConverter.net Measurement Converters

University of North Carolina: Math Test for Journalists

KitchenMath.com
Conversion tables for cooking measurements.

Convert-Me.com
"Interactive calculators for many measurement systems both commonly used like metric and U.S. Avoirdupois and quite exotic like Ancient Greek and Roman."

"Math Tools for Journalists" Book
Written by veteran educator Kathleen Woodruff Wickham Ed.D., "Math Tools" explains math concepts in layman?s language and shows how these concepts apply to situations journalists face every day. Cost: $16.95.

Interest Calculator
Determine compounded daily interest.

Interest Calculator
Track the difference a small percentage change in interest can make on an investment over time.

Universal Currency Converter
Contains currency information on 180 currencies in over 250 geographical locations.

Check Your Weight on Other Planets

The Original Tipping Page
Lists acceptable amounts for specific situations.

DeathClock.com
How many seconds do you have left?

Days To Pay Calculator: How Long Until You Pay It Off?
Enter the cost of an item and other information compute how long it will take to pay off the item you want to purchase. Helpful for writers doing consumer spending stories.

U.S. Census Bureau: U.S. and World Population Clock
Database allows you to search releases, warnings and news from the Food and Drug Administration.

NewsEngin Cost-of-Living Calculator

USA Today: State-by-State Population Growth (1790-2000)

Center for Environment and Population
CEP partners with leading experts and organizations to link science, to policy, and public outreach to better understand and address the issues. It helps compile, assess, and advance current knowledge and emerging trends on population and the environment.

Robert Niles: Writing with Statistics

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Tips on writing, punctuation, grammar, usage, etc. Great podcasts where GG answers user-submitted questions.

Guide to Grammar and Writing

SensibleUnits.com
This site converts measurements, distances, weights, etc. into objects that people can relate to. For example, four acres equals three football fields or 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Very handy for developing graphics and writing about sizes of buildings and lots.

Historical Currency Conversions

WeirdConverter.com
A great site for analyzing numbers and coming up with odd facts and figures for stories. It's great for comparing sizes, weights and gives the reader some perspective.

History of Mathematics Archive
Searchable, and browsable by topics.

Good Math, Bad Math Blog
Blog on consumer math, economics, etc., from computer scientist Mark C. Chu-Carroll.

Employee Benefit Research Corp.: Savings Rate Analysis
Projects savings/investments over periods of time. Click on "Ballpark Estimate" tool.

T. Row Price: Retirement Calculator

National Credit Union Administration Deposit Insurance Estimator

FDIC: Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator

Ultimate Unit Converter

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Consumer Price Index Database
Select an item (gas, food, etc.) and track price increases nationally over time. Great quick reference for stories. You also can track it by region or major metropolitan area by using the image map and pulldown menu on this page

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inflation Calculator

Encyclopedia of Mathematics
More than 8,000 entries.

Science U
A spinoff site from the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota, this site explains science in basic terms.

Institute for Analytic Journalism

Learner.org: Math in Daily Life

Water Calculator
Form helps you determine how much water you use in a day.

CPI Inflation Calculator

Catalog of Math Resources
A great set of links from the University of Wisconsin.

WWW Virtual Library: Mathematics
More great links from Florida State University.

TaxMama.com
Fun with tax statistics.

Mathematics of Tsunamis
The math and physics rules that govern them.


We wanted to share a good example of how to put some large numbers or obscure measurements into context that the average reader can relate to:

Q. Is there some way to put 488 acres into context, i.e., what is that as big as?

A. One acre is equivalent to 43,560 sq. feet or 4,840 sq. yards. One football field is equivalent to 57,240 Sq. feet. So one acre is 76% the size of a football field. In the Midwest, farms were homesteaded and also sold by the railroads in quarter sections. A section is 640 acres. A section is also one square mile. A quarter section is 160 acres. Three quarter sections add up to 480 acres. Where I am from in Iowa the farmers often talk in terms of how many farms a person has. If the farm was 488 acres the farmer would call that three farms or 3/4 of a section. Or just 488 acres.

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