5 answers

Do I need maths to be a journalist

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My name is Peter Tomiwa Andrew,am from Nigeria kogi state.I am 16 years old and about to enter the college,I have passion to become a journalist since my childhood #journalism

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5 answers

Jeff’s Answer

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Hi, a mathematics degree is not a requirement to become a journalist, and most employment listings for news jobs will not specify math as a requirement. That said, basic numeracy is useful and important for reporters and editors.

Typical work may include reading and understanding financial documents, such as budgets. It is important to understand how a proposed budget level, such as a department line item, is greater or lesser than the current year's level. You will also need to understand how financial levels change on a relative basis; in other words, education may account for 2/3 of the city budget last year, and 3/4 of the city budget this year.
This is important both as an absolute number and by percentage. Percentages are very important for news stories. They may be specified in some cases, but you may need to calculate them yourself.

This is especially important for tax matters. You need to be able to accurately calculate how much someone's taxes will go up.

Of course, much of the news is politics, and that means understanding proportions -- simple majority, plurality, 2/3, 3/4. On election night, you may be called to compute how many places have reported their votes, and which candidate is leading by how much.

Therefore, while you may not need a mathematics degree, you will need math skills to be an effective reporter.
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Jackson’s Answer

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Tomiwa: Most answer to life's important question is DEPENDS.

Question: Do I need good at math to be a journalist?

Answer: Depends what kind of journalist you want to be.

Would you like to be a journalist specialize in the economy or business? In this case, math skill is absolutely critical. Having a solid foundation in mathematics helps you better understand the business world, macro economy, and government policy.

Would you like to be a journalist specialize in arts and entertainment? In that case, probably not as much.

Jackson recommends the following next steps:

  • Narrow down the type of journalist you want to be. Search for job postings / openings to understand the requirements.
  • Interview your college newspaper staff. Learn what their backgrounds are to be successful in this trade.
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Bridie’s Answer

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Hey Tomiwa, a basic grasp of math is a good life skill to have regardless of what field you go into, however I do not think it is 100% necessary to be a math whiz to be a journalist unless you are intending to write for a financial or science type publication.

What you do need is a) the ability to research and pickup unfamiliar subjects quickly and translate them into laymans terms b) ability to ask hard questions c) be persistent.

I wouldn't let a lack of aptitude in mathematics stop you from following your dreams.
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Fenix’s Answer

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Research schools of Journalism
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Cynthia’s Answer

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Hi Tomiwa!

That's a very good question. I have been a journalist for 10 years and math was not my strongest subject! Math helps more with analytical thinking and helps us become problem solvers. However, for journalism language and English are the focus. I hope this helps.

Cynthia recommends the following next steps:

  • Research Schools of Journalism
  • Consider starting a blog
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