I’ve worked with a lot of immensely talented journalists over the course of my career. Journalists who were dedicated to sharing the truth. Bringing overlooked stories to the masses. People who are willing to put their reputations — and in some cases, their lives — on the line to keep governments accountable and societies informed.
But journalists, as talented as they are, aren’t experts in everything. And sometimes they need assistance from specialists in other fields. That’s not always easy to find — hence this post. There are a number of organizations that offer expert help with statistics for those who need it. It’s just a matter of knowing where to look.
I spend a lot of time talking about the various ways people (journalists included) accidentally lie with data. (Like here.) I try to present some of the most common data mistakes I see people in the media making. But statistics is a complex field and there are so many ways to accidentally get things wrong. It’s useful to have some resources that provide help with statistics ensure your story is accurately and honestly presenting data.
So here you go.
European Data Journalism Network Help Desk
Working on a story about European affairs? This platform was developed by a group of media and data journalists from across Europe and offers help with statistics — including tools in twelve different languages.
Use the StatsMonitor to track trends in European data. Or use Quote Finder to explore trending words in tweets by EU leaders. Whether you need assistance gathering data (there’s also a Data Search tool) or help to know the best way to visualize the data you have, you’ll find it all here.
People of Color Also Know Stuff
Racial bias is still a huge issue in our world. And even those with the best of intentions can fall victim to it. People of Color Also Know Stuff is a great resource for journalists seeking another perspective on their stories.
POCAlsoKnow aims to eliminate exclusion and discrimination of all kinds (not just racial) with support from political science scholars of colour. They offer resources for minority groups in the political science field as well as a directory of experts who can provide insight into your political data or story.
Sense about Science
This group seeks to challenge misrepresentation of science and data in public life, calling for transparency and sound scientific evidence in both public discourse and policy-making. Sense About Science has a UK branch as well as a US branch, which is a partnership with the American Statistical Association.
Check out both SAS websites for help with statistics, including an Ask an Expert section, peer reviews, and a STATScheck tool specifically developed to help journalists with data analysis.
Request a Woman Scientist
Too often, high-profile articles, conference panels, and boards are filled with a disproportionate number of male voices. But how do you go about finding a female perspective on the specific story you’re working on? Just request a woman scientist.
This site lets you find female experts in scientific fields (including statistics) sorted by location, degree, discipline, and even whether or not they have minority status. Make sure your story provides a balanced perspective, while also supporting women in a male-dominated field.
Royal Statistical Society StatsLife
Want more than just an expert opinion? Getting help with data can go beyond insights and critiques. StatsLife’s resources for journalists include free online courses that provide a thorough grounding in basic statistical theory.
Check out courses, PowerPoint presentations, useful documents and exercises all aimed at helping you get a handle on your data. (And all free.)
Need More Help with Statistics?
Datassist works closely with many journalists and journalism organizations. We offer courses and resources for writers working with statistics, but we also partner with individuals or teams to collaborate on larger projects. Want our help? Get in touch. If you’d like more information on upcoming workshops or courses, you can also subscribe to our newsletter.