Resources for Journalists

We are helping trainee and practising journalists to develop a better grasp of the basic principles and methods of statistics. Currently many media colleges lack the expertise in house to teach students about how scientific work is carried out and published, or how to understand the basic statistics central to many everyday stories – polls, averages, variance, uncertainty, significance and more.

The aim is to encourage those with expertise in science and statistics to volunteer as guest speakers at media colleges and newsrooms, to foster greater scientific and statistical literacy in the press.

By offering your time and expertise, you’ll be investing in the future of science reporting, helping to ensure science and statistics are covered accurately in the news.

The materials have been developed as part of both the Royal Statistical Society’s getstats campaign and the the RSS Science Journalism Programme which provides training for journalists in both science and statistics. The RSS Science Journalism Programme is hosted by the Society and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Presentations - Slideshows and sample syllabus ideas.

Handouts & Further Reading - Useful documents that can be offered as handouts for students to take home with them.

Exercises - Practical tasks that will support initial lessons.

Statistics for journalists

Numbers are everywhere in the news. No matter what their area of speciality, journalists will inevitably be faced with data such as employment figures, crime stats, house prices, the economy, exam grades, survey results, blockbuster earnings, wages, taxes, interest rates, opinion polls, and more. It’s essential therefore, that they have a good grasp of the basic statistical patterns and behaviours that they’re likely to see, as well as tools to help them make sense of these numbers. The Statistics for Journalists presentation is focused on providing an introduction to these.

What they said...

what they said
“Many thanks for making the long trek north. The sessions went down really well with excellent feedback from the trainees who found both presentations engaging and very useful.”
Paul Jones, Head of Foundation Course Training, Press Association Newcastle
“We’re still using what we learned on a daily basis.”
Alan Kay, Deputy Night Editor, The Times
“My students loved it – our HE administrator was there and she said it was brilliant.”
Mark Benattar, Course leader, Fast-track NCTJ Journalism Diploma, Cornwall College

Science for journalists

Every day, newspapers carry thousands of words about the latest science findings, and a big result such as the discovery of the Higgs Boson can expect to be reported across the globe. However, specialised science reporters are few and far between. Thus it’s good for anyone studying journalism to have a basic idea of how science works, how research is planned and published, how to assess scientific evidence, how to find suitable experts and interview them and how to avoid common pitfalls. The Science for Journalists presentation aims to provide a basic introduction to these points.

How it works

The RSS Science Journalism Programme encourages scientists to volunteer as guest speakers at media colleges and newsrooms, to foster greater scientific and statistical literacy in the press. There is a huge demand for science speakers: volunteers have visited journalism schools in Belfast, Brighton, Camborne, Cardiff, Coventry, Lambeth, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield, Twickenham, Vauxhall, Westminster and more!