Big number statistics and press release journalism

On Friday I was in the car from 7 to 9, so listened to two hours of the Today programme. I was getting increasingly irritated as the BBC's economics editor, Faisal Islam  was repeatedly played reporting on the news that the British Retail Consortium (BRC) had stated that a no-deal Brexit would result in £3.1 billion a year in tariffs on EU food. There was no analysis, just the big number and a couple of other shocking figures like a 57% tariff on the import (sic) of cheddar cheese.One of the main rules of good reporting of statistics is that you don't just give a big number, but that you put that number into context - and when dealing with a forecast, it's essential to explain the assumptions that lie behind that forecast.I looked on the BRC website and found the press release that contained all the information in the BBC's report. It also gave no context and no details of the assumptions. Worse, it gave no way to dig into the data behind the press release.One useful w…

A Farewell to Schedules

HP Instant Ink - Review

Review - This is Not a Book about Charles Darwin

The BBC and anniversaryitis

Cryptic challenge from the Conundrum Book site

Review: The Nanny State Made Me - Stuart Maconie

Free Capel books on Kindle

Review: Arriving Late at Wolf Hall

The guilty shop

Review - The Starless Sea - Erin Morgenstern

Review - The House of Silk - Anthony Horowitz

Review - Sleep No More - P. D. James

Review - A Christmas Railway Mystery

The electric car elephant in the room

Quantum Heresies - Mary Peelen - review

Dodgy Statistics at the Labour Conference

Clegg Hall

The Six Secrets of Intelligence - book review

No Logo revisited - book review

On making an unexpected visit to Lille

Review: Cobblestone - streaming music with style