Poynter's NewsU offers math for journalists
April 11th, 2005 by JTJ

WHAT: Math for Journalists, a new and interactive online course and reference tool

Written by Debbie Wolfe, technology training editor, St. Petersburg
Times; designed by Casey Frechette, Poynter NewsU course administrator
and Flash wizard

WHEN: Available beginning today, Mon., April 11, 2005 at 9 a.m. EDT (US)

WHERE: It's available where you are and when you need it. Just log onto the Web even if you only have a 56K dial-up modem.

FREE thanks to the Poynter Institute and the Knight Foundation; just
spend a few moments registering at Poynter's NewsU Web site at

Because many journalists need an easy to understand, available 24/7 and
free resource to turn to for self-help with math. The content of the
course is the collective wisdom of plenty of gifted math types written
by one who is not, so it's the best of both worlds. Enjoy!

Background about the Math for Journalists course:

For the past 30 years, one of my professional goals has been to make
routine math more routine for myself and other journalists. So, with
this goal in mind, the NewsU staff at Poynter has helped me create an
online and very interactive Math for Journalists course.

Today just also happens to be the formal launch day for NewsU,
Poynter's online university for journalists. You'll learn more about
NewsU from official messages sent out to the industry by Poynter.

In the Math for Journalists course, there are six theme areas packed
with step-by-step formulas (I like to think of these as recipes),
recipes for double checking your work, pop-up screens with common
English tips, story examples, public records data examples and skill
drills. And, by the way, the drills have plenty of skill levels to
choose from so everyone will be challenged.

     The entire course has been written and designed to be used in the following ways:

1. LINEAR – Start from the beginning and work your way through

2. TOPICAL – Choose the order that makes the most sense to you

DEADLINE – Go right to the topic you need at that moment in time. The
formulas and examples are right there without any fluff.

     Here's an outline of what's included in the initial launch:

1. REFRESHERS, includes terms and syntax; order of operations; and, fractions

2. BACKGROUNDERS, includes warm-up exercises; Web resources; and, math helpers

3. PERCENTS OF ALL KINDS, including percent change; percent of total; and, percentage point vs. percent

4. AVERAGES AND MORE, including mean; median; and, mode

5. NUMBER RELATIONSHIPS, including ratio; rank; and, rates with a special section on millage rates

6. ADVANCED TOPICS, including cost of living; weighted averaging; and, estimating the size of a crowd

Take the course for a spin in whole or in part, then let me know what
you think. As I hear about suggestions, additions will be made. “Just
in time” newsroom math help and reference 24/7. Free. Forever. Now, is
this cool or what?!


Debbie Wolfe

Technology Training Editor

St. Petersburg Times

800-333-7505, ext. 2919


Preferred e-mail:

Also, check these out these two Web sites:



Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa