TITLE

The Numbers Game in African Reporting

AUTHOR(S)
Donnelly, John
PUB. DATE
September 2004
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Fall2004, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p18
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article explains why many statistics about Africa that reporters rely on can be so wrong and what inaccuracies can mean. There are several ways for journalists to proceed with numbers in Africa, and this advice applies to such work in other developing countries. Reporters want to use numbers in their stories. Just use caution when the numbers come out of Africa. Remain skeptical. Ask tough questions, and find ways to let readers understand the dilemma the numbers pose in their telling. Journalists should find ways to stop this charade of using ever-escalating estimates of disease and disaster that seem to be little more than desperate attempts for attention. In writing about the human suffering that exists on the continent of Africa, whether it is 13 million or 26.3 million Africans who are infected with HIV or 100.000 or two million people in Darfur who have run from their homes, the toll these disasters exact is dreadful. And in Africa, these troubles can be found on a so much greater scale than anywhere else. What journalists can do is let Africans speak for themselves about the difficulties they confront and the lives they want to lead without depending on numbers that we know are false to sell a story that simply deserves to be told.
ACCESSION #
14690086

 

Related Articles

  • Revealing Lives Behind the Statistics. Maharaj, Davan // Nieman Reports;Fall2004, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p20 

    This article relates the author's experiences reporting about how Africans go about their daily lives beyond the statistics. Our first story would be about work. How did people earn the money they lived on? To tell this story, I set out for a place I knew from earlier reporting could accurately...

  • Helping Reporters Play the Medical Numbers Game.  // Nieman Reports;Summer2003, Vol. 57 Issue 2, p64 

    Gives advice to medical reporters regarding techniques in assessing the significance of statistical numbers and claims. Discussion on cause-and-effect links in reporting; Factors to consider when covering stories about disease outbreaks and patterns; Attributes of a wise medical journalists. ...

  • THE -ISM SCHISM. McElligott, Tim // Telephony;2/25/2002, Vol. 242 Issue 8, p30 

    Stresses the need for journalists to choose the appropriate words for a news story. Responsibilities of journalists; Difference between the writing procedure of print and television journalists.

  • At Unity '99 the Topic Was Journalism. Fulwood III, Sam // Nieman Reports;Fall99, Vol. 53 Issue 3, p79 

    Presents news regarding journalism as of September 1999. Information on the journalism topic in the Unity 1999 conference; Update on some reporters.

  • Dying to Get the Story. Magistad, Mary Kay // Nieman Reports;Fall2000, Vol. 54 Issue 3, p58 

    Reflects on the risks that journalists must face in reporting. Death of journalists Kurt Schork and Miguel Gil Moreno in Sierra Leone; Why journalists took the risks of covering reports.

  • Confessions of a stakeout artist. Rogin, Richard // Columbia Journalism Review;Jul/Aug88, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p25 

    Recounts the author's experience of news hunting in the U.S. Techniques used by journalists to monitor a news story; Methods of conducting ambush interviews; Risks of the job; Benefits and rewards of getting ahead of other journalists following a news story.

  • Nicaragua's free-fire journalism. Massing, Michael // Columbia Journalism Review;Jul/Aug88, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p29 

    Focuses on the state of journalism in Nicaragua in 1988. Political history; Censorship of the news; Repression of local and international news agencies; Decision of the Sandinista government to sign a peace plan, committing itself to full freedom of expression.

  • 6 Tips for Building and Maintaining Relationships With (Fewer) Reporters Prepare for a 6:1 Ratio of PR Pros to Reporters.  // PR News;2/15/2016, p4 

    The article offers tips for building and maintaining relationship with reporters.

  • Our days are numbered.  // Editor & Publisher;07/17/99, Vol. 132 Issue 29, p63 

    Focuses on the importance for journalists to scrutinize the statistics they use to accompany their stories. Gripe against newspapers who report conflicting figures about certain topics; Publication of guide by journalist Victor Cohn called `News and Numbers' that deal with the conclusions...

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of VIRGINIA BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY AND SYSTEM

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics