Polls, Surveys and Statistics Reading, Reporting and Editing Numbers in Journalism.

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  • Slide 1
  • Polls, Surveys and Statistics Reading, Reporting and Editing Numbers in Journalism
  • Slide 2
  • There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics. - Benjamin Disraeli
  • Slide 3
  • Polls, Surveys and Statistics What is the purpose? When do we use them? Where do we get the information? How do we use them? Why do we use them? Are they important in agricultural news coverage? Examples
  • Slide 4
  • Surveys and Polls Why are surveys used? to gather information and opinions on the issues of the day. How are surveys used? Prediction, change, proof Examples What types of surveys do the media use? Polls, sampling of readers, etc.
  • Slide 5
  • Editing Stories with Numbers Sources Who are the participants? Who sponsored the survey? Know whom you are dealing with. Sample How many people were questioned? Whom do they represent?
  • Slide 6
  • Editing Stories with Numbers Sample Systematic or stratified sample Increases reliability Divide respondents into specific groups Age Gender Education Income Marital status Party affiliation Location Ethnicity
  • Slide 7
  • Editing Stories with Numbers Margin of Error Opinion surveys Plus or minus percentage points Example candidate is leading the polls 52 percent to 48 percent with a margin of error of +/- 4 points. What can we report? Scientific study Confidence level What is the probability that the results are due to chance? .95 confidence level, So what?
  • Slide 8
  • Be Skeptical How do you know? Have you done a study? Compared to what? Other studies Consistent results
  • Slide 9
  • Checking the Numbers Calculate percentages 15/60 * 100 One out of : 60/15 = 1 out of 4 More than vs as much $10,000 building purchased for five times more than it is worth, what price did you pay? $10,000 building purchased for five times as much as it is worth, what price did you pay?
  • Slide 10
  • Checking the Numbers Increase or decrease Increased to 6 percent from 1 percent Increased from 1 percent to 6 percent Decreased to 1 percent from 6 percent Decreased from 6 percent to 1 percent More than or Less than Be aware of rounding Percent Change increase to 6 from 4 = 2 2/4 =.5 *100 = 50 percent increase
  • Slide 11
  • Checking the Numbers Percentages should equal 100. Round to a single decimal Percent increase vs. Percentage points Government spending increases to 20 percent of the budget from 10 percent, that is a 10 percentage point increase or 100 percent increase. 20-10 = 10/10 = 1*100 = 100 percent

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