Telling the story. Training statisticians at Statistics Canada. Three principal courses . Writing for the Web Encountering the media Writing for The Daily. Writing for The Daily. Course objectives: Intro to the world of journalists: Meeting their needs
at Statistics Canada
‘Effective release’: benefits
What is The Daily?
1. The basics: Writing for journalists
2. Case studies
3. Hands-on exercise
What journalists don’t need…
Module 1: Teaching the basics
Module 2: Case studies
What works, what doesn’t
Follow a news release from:
A good learning experience!
Lead para in draft copy:
“An estimated 449,720 pregnancies ended during 2001, almost 15% fewer than the peak in 1990 (526,887) for the 28-year period 1974 to 2001. The corresponding pregnancy rate reached its peak in 1975 when there were 76.1 pregnancies for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 49 years.”
Lead para in The Daily:
“Pregnancy rates among teenagers in 2001 were down by one-third from where they were nearly three decades earlier, according to new data. Meanwhile women over the age of 30 were accounting for a much higher rate.”
Lead para in media coverage:
“Not only are fewer teens becoming pregnant than three decades ago, but many Canadian women are waiting to start families until their careers are in place, a study from Statistics Canada suggests.”
Module 3: Hands-on exercise
The Numbers Game:
Writing about data: Make it stick!!!
Avoid proportions in brackets:
Working seniors were also somewhat more likely than younger people to report unpaid family work in 2004 (12% versus 4%).
About 12% of working seniors reported unpaid family work in 2004, three times the proportion of only 4% among younger people.
Get the story right:
In total, spending in retail stores reached $246.8 billion in 2004. Of that amount, consumers spent $86.4 billion on motor vehicles and related products, and $59.3 billion on food and beverages.
Here’s the story:
Canadians spent proportionally more on their cars in 2004 than they did on food and beverages.
Of every $100 consumers spent in retail stores, $31 went to vehicles and related services such as gasoline and oil, compared with only $23 for food and beverages.
Percentages vs. proportions
The proportion of seniors who were in the labour force rose from 15% in 2003 to 20% in 2004, a 5% increase.......
Treat these terms carefully:
For the purposes of this analysis, households were divided into five groups according to their income, with each group representing 20%, or one-fifth, of all households. The one-fifth of Canadian households with the lowest incomes spent over 51% of their budget on food, shelter and clothing in 2002.
-- Journalistic style
-- Story lines
-- Texts: clear, concise, simple
-- Convey data properly