# Math for Journalists

# Math for Journalists

**RECENT UPDATES**

The Journalist’s Resource: Reporting on Percent Change vs. Percentage Point Change

Four tips to avoid math mistakes

Infographic: Percent Change Versus Percentage-Point Change

GIJN: Interpreting Data – How to Read the Numbers

The Journalist’s Resource: What Journalists Need to Know About Standard Deviation

**Calculators, Converters and Other Tools**

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inflation Calculator

West Egg Inflation Calculator

Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Bankrate.com Gas Price Calculators

The Measure of Things

Great for when you need to contextualize numbers. E.g crowd sizes, distances, mass etc.

T. Row Price: Retirement Calculator

National Credit Union Administration Deposit Insurance Estimator

Omni Calculator

Omni Calculator created a collection of tools specifically for journalists. It helps with everyday computations , such as percentages for poll results; contextualizing numbers so the audience inherently understands them, like our weird and wonderful units converter; and other tools, like the time zone calculator for organizing interviews across the world.

Zillow: Mortgage Calculator

Combines comprehensive outputs, showing a mortgage payment in full, with a smooth interface and attractive usability.

Pew Research Center: Middle Class Income Calculator

Percentage Calculator

Using a simple and clean interface, this site lets you calculate percentages three ways: – What is x% of a number? – x is what % of y? – What is the % change between x and y?

Good Calculators

Provides a variety of online calculators, such as math and statistics, engineering and conversion calculators.

CalculateWhat Online Calculators

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.”

BankRate: Interest Calculator

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

PhotoMath

Use this iPhone app to point at a written or typed math problem and it will scan and solve it using AI software.

TravelMath.com

Determine distances, flight times, etc. You also can do this by typing into Google the flight time/distance, etc.

**Databases, Research and Reference**

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.

Journalist’s Resource: Tips for Journalists Working With Math

Journalist’s Resource: Statistics for Journalists Tipsheet

The Journalist’s Resource: Reporting on Percent Change vs. Percentage Point Change

Four tips to avoid math mistakes

Infographic: Percent Change Versus Percentage-Point Change

Robert Niles: Statistics Writers Should Know

An excellent reference primer from Robert Niles on stats for journalists.Start here with several math tutorials!

National Center for Business Journalism: Newsroom Math Crib Sheet

Great math shortcuts and formulas from Steve Doig.

GIJN: 5 Things Journalists Need to Know About Statistical Significance

Denise Ordway offers tips to avoid some of the most common errors related to statistical significance in academic studies.

Poynter: How to Make Sense of Numbers in Science and Health Reports

GIJN: 5 Things Journalists Need to Know About Statistical Significance

Denise Ordway offers tips to avoid some of the most common errors related to statistical significance in academic studies.

Research Statistical Terms Primer for Journalists

Great primer from Harvard.

Making Numbers Count

Slides form NICAR 22 presentation on how to write with data, by Holly Hacker and Jen LaFleur.

Investopedia: How the Dow Jones Is Calculated

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.

GIJN: Interpreting Data – How to Read the Numbers

Math Mistakes

Common errors by reporters, advertisers, politicians and activists.

Eric Weisstein’s World of Mathematics

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.

Pew Research Center: The Daily Number

Daily stat “that highlights an important finding or trend.”

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.

STEM, Research and Writing Resources for Journalists

Math, science, research, writing and other tools reporters will find handy.

History of Mathematics Archive

Searchable, and browsable by topics.

Encyclopedia of Mathematics

More than 8,000 entries.

Institute for Analytic Journalism

Nieman Lab: Can We Make it Easier for Readers to Digest Numbers?

The Journalist’s Resource: What Journalists Need to Know About Standard Deviation

**Fun with Math**

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.

Check Your Weight on Other Planets

DeathClock.com

How many seconds do you have left?

Mathematics of Tsunamis

The math and physics rules that govern them.

**Math Basics**

**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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