Analysis: Number use in the news

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Case study: Associated Press story- "Women on pace to be majority of union workers"

      This story reports data released on Tuesday by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that shows the number of women in the union work force increasing steadily.

      The reporter uses numbers to show the percentage of women union members and the percent increase over time. These figures are then compared to male representation in unions.

      The story also gives numbers to show an ethnic shift in union membership.

      The reporter then zooms out toe put the numbers in a still wider context, positing that the percentage of union constituents in the overall electorate amounts to significant "political clout."

      The numbers in this story were many, but not overwhelmingly hard to understand. The subject matter itself is dry and dependent on the statistics. Rather than using numbers to enhance a story, this piece was crafted around the numbers.

      It appears the reporter did manipulate the heady math in order to use more accessible percentages, though. Since the numbers all came from one report from CEPR, the article did not need to source the figures throughout. 

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This page contains a single entry by ellio244 published on November 14, 2009 5:43 PM.

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