The power of a simple statistic

Numbers can make or break a story.

Big numbers get more attention - but are they enough? Credit: Flickr/duncan

Pay more attention to numbers, was the advice of David Ropeik, a risk communication expert from Harvard University in the United States.

“A big number makes risk, and gets more attention for your story,” he said.

Big numbers are also the way to get the reader interested in a story about diseases such as cancer.

But Fabio Turone, a science writer from Italy said that numbers were not enough. 

There is also the need to make the story relevant, in a personal way, to the reader: put the reader into the story, he urged, by thinking of the impact of what you are writing about on his or her daily life.

Hazem Badr, SciDev.Net contributor in Egypt


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