Analysis: Numbers in story about falling birth rates in the U.S.

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By Kelsey Lund

A Los Angeles Times reporter used numbers to tell the story of dropping birth rates in the U.S.

The reporter used a lot of numbers in the story, which was overwhelming at times for the reader. Although the numbers were limited to only one in each paragraph, every single paragraph had numbers. The story ended with bullet points containing more numbers.

The reporter could have made it easier to take in the story by adding other information about the numbers, possibly in terms of the actual babies born. The reporter also could have interviewed workers at a maternity ward about their take on the lowered rates to add some perspective to the numbers.

Most of the numbers in the story were put in terms of percentage points. The reporter compared the number of births per number of women once. Overall, the reporter could have used math to crunch the numbers and make them more effective by not just presenting them in terms of percents.

The source of the numbers is a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics--which is not attributed completely until the end of the story.

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This page contains a single entry by lund1096 published on March 31, 2011 7:38 PM.

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