A census of statistics requirements at U.S. journalism programs and a model for a “statistics for journalism” course

Justin D. Martin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay presents data from a census of statistics requirements and offerings at all 4-year journalism programs in the United States (N = 369) and proposes a model of a potential course in statistics for journalism majors. The author proposes that three philosophies underlie a statistics course for journalism students. Such a course should (a) represent a statistics course with journalism, not a journalism course seasoned with a few statistics; (b) encourage awareness of error and skepticism of omniscience of official figures; and (c) cultivate statistical enthusiasts, not formulae repositories. Findings report students in just one fifth of U.S. journalism programs are required to take statistics, and none of those programs offer a course within their own academic unit that fulfills a traditional statistics requirement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-479
Number of pages19
JournalJournalism and Mass Communication Educator
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

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Keywords

  • Curriculum
  • Data
  • Journalism
  • Numeracy
  • Statistics
  • Undergraduate education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Education

Cite this

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AB - This essay presents data from a census of statistics requirements and offerings at all 4-year journalism programs in the United States (N = 369) and proposes a model of a potential course in statistics for journalism majors. The author proposes that three philosophies underlie a statistics course for journalism students. Such a course should (a) represent a statistics course with journalism, not a journalism course seasoned with a few statistics; (b) encourage awareness of error and skepticism of omniscience of official figures; and (c) cultivate statistical enthusiasts, not formulae repositories. Findings report students in just one fifth of U.S. journalism programs are required to take statistics, and none of those programs offer a course within their own academic unit that fulfills a traditional statistics requirement.

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