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an Economist Intelligence Unit business healthcare

Supporting the Royal Statistical Society's ten-year statistical literacy campaign.

July 15th 2011

Our very own Dr. Rob Cook recently presented at an afternoon workshop organised by the National Coordinator for Science Journalism Training, Martin Griffiths, at the Royal Statistical Society. Bazian are pleased to support both the RSS in its Get Stats campaign and the BBC College of Journalism who helped with this event. The aim of fostering improved science and number literacy in the journalism community is shared by a number of organisations and people and the campaign is making progress. Links from the RSS pages on science training for journalists are particularly useful http://scijourntraining.wordpress.com/resources/  

Some of Bazian’s daily appraisals of research papers on Behind the Headlines may seem at times to be overly negative - even to us, because we focus on how research is reported by the press. But, this is not actually how we think. Ensuring the accuracy and relevance of numbers as they travel from researcher through press release, journalist and sub-editor to the big wide world is the bigger picture. How are numbers turned into a narrative? This often requires two approaches or perspectives and at least two skills, with both numbers and language. The stakes are high: giving journalists the training and the tools to uncover the next big medical science story and cover it accurately, could perhaps prevent the runaway health scares of the type we’ve seen in recent years. Lives might even be saved.

Other speakers at the Royal Statistical Society last Wednesday were Nigel Hawkes (Straight Statistics), Patrick Casey (Full Fact), Richard Knight and Richard Vadon (More or Less, BBC R4). Youtube, coutesy of the BBC College of Journalism, is available from: