Category Archives: News

Financial Journalists Need to Understand Numbers Better If They Want to Avoid Getting Played

Another one from the archives I was saving for while I am otherwise occupied. Enjoy.

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Having a fluency in the writing arts is one of the prerequisites for a career in journalism. The ability to sum up an event in an understandable manner is crucial. But people with highly developed language skills often lack a similar set of skills in mathematics. They can be literate, yet innumerate.

This is highly problematic for those who cover financial news.

On an all too regular basis, the media finds itself doing the bidding of clever and sophisticated spin doctors who work for corporations, trade groups, and others with a specific agenda to pursue. Look no further than the annual holiday shopping forecasts as it gets unthinkingly parroted by the usual suspects in the MSM.

They ought to know better.

The most recent journalistic error involved a young, dumb kid making outrageous claims about his trading prowess to New York Magazine. The first mention of this should have immediately raised red flags for everyone involved: