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Math for Journalists: Help with Numbers

About This Course

Explore several of the most important math tools that journalists encounter — and have fun doing it.

This course covers everything from reducing fractions and other math essentials to topics specifically for journalists, such as calculating cost of living and estimating crowd sizes. The goal is to make routine math routine.

Along the way, you’ll find a range of resources to give you additional learning support. Quizzes, activities, interactive activities and games — complete with high-score boards — offer fun ways to learn the math basics that every journalist needs to know.

What Will I Learn?

  • The terms, syntax and rules for performing calculations and demonstrating math proficiency
  • How to work with fractions
  • How to perform arithmetic more accurately and efficiently
  • How to find help — both on and off the Web
  • The difference between percentage points and percent
  • How to calculate means, medians and modes, and know when it’s best to use each as a measure of "average"
  • How to compare numbers more meaningfully by creating ratios, ranks and rates The basic approaches to and pitfalls of calculating cost of living, weighted averages and crowd estimates

Who Should Take This Course?

Anyone who wants to get better at the routine math every journalist needs when writing or editing a story, covering an event or creating infographics. If you don't know how to calculate a crowd estimate or don't know the difference between percentage points and percents, this course is for you.

Course Instructor

Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe is CEO at Debbie Wolfe Consulting, adjunct professor of journalism at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, and former technology training editor at the St. Petersburg Times.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.