Basic Number Concepts for Journalists

Most of the time, journalists are coined as “people of so many words”. But, true or not, reporters can blank out the moment they encounter various figures. Yet, playing on with numbers is a perilous activity. They can represent as the basic part of the story. The computation of students’ grades, prices discount or an over or under budgeting project are all evolved around those figures.

Really knowing the numbers and having the ability to clearly disseminate their true value to the readers is one of the most important part of a journalist job. Basic knowledge about arithmetic, working easily with statistics, and compute for percentages are basic requirements for journalists as well. It is also important to learn the margin of error, probability, and understanding the meaning behind graphs and tables. These math basics are very essential to help the readers understand the current concerns. Moreover, it will also guide journalism students to get math homework help.

Basic Concepts about Numbers

Below are some of the basic knowledge that you must have to remember to create a more realistic news and make that story count.


Generally, an “average” is often referred to when the mean, median, and mode are being discussed. These mathematical concepts are three different aspects. But, in most cases, they are used interchangeably. Thus, incorrect usage will lead to misleading story.

Basically, the mean is the average. The mathematical formula for this is the number of the values divided by the sum of the values. On the other hand, the median is the measurement of the central tendency within the group of numbers.

Meanwhile, the mode is used as an indicator than a measurement. The utilization of mode is very helpful in identifying a sequence of reoccurrence. However, mode is not used often in journalism compared to statistics.


The fraction of a whole number or that of 100 is known as percentage.

For the purpose of describing the data to the readers via a way that is meaningful, percentages are of big help especially if there are raw numbers present. The mathematical formula to compute for it is through multiplication of the real number value by 100.