the cbc does well…

December 8, 2008

…when it reports on news.

now, here’s a news bulletin i’d like to see:


come on, cbc. i’m poor and love you. don’t make me shell out for the globe.


7 Responses to “the cbc does well…”

  1. Milan Says:

    Some statistics are definitely news.

    “Google searches rise for unusual words in the news” isn’t news.

  2. mkushnir Says:


    i would disagree wholeheartedly with that. statistics are never news; it is an excuse for shoddy journalism and a slide towards sensationalism.

    the news should be about society; they should be seeking out the news itself, not reporting on what is itself a consequence of societal behavior or opinion.

  3. Milan Says:

    Some examples of statistics-based, relevant news stories:

    1) A new Arctic sea ice minimum
    2) A clinical trial demonstrating that a popular drug doesn’t work, or has dangerous side effects
    3) A report on the effectiveness of foreign aid
    4) An analysis of the effects of recent tax cuts

    Statistics are one of the few ways we can deal effectively with the complexity of the world. Otherwise, you just have ‘on the one hand / on the other hand’ rhetoric.

  4. Milan Says:

    In short, statistics can help avoid shoddy journalism and sensationalism, precisely because they can reflect real and importance changes and situations in a direct, accurate, and comprehensible way.

  5. mkushnir Says:

    oh, maybe i didn’t make my point clear.

    i wasn’t suggesting even for a second that statistics don’t matter in the media. of course, they do.

    what i’m saying is that a statistic, as THE topic of a news article itself, is a really poor way of exploring the world. note, for example, each of your examples are based in analysis – but don’t revolve around a simple statistic.

    granted, blogs are inherently mired in opinion. of course, this is for the better. we should expect better from the mainstream media, however.

  6. Milan Says:

    I think a single statistic can be important enough to be newsworthy, though I agree that analysis is generally necessary for putting it in context.

    The trouble you are describing isn’t statistics, it is a journalistic interest in trivial matters and/or superficial analysis.

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