Monday, December 03, 2007

Dear Mr. Journalist

I know percentages are a difficult thing. I have yet to see a news article where Mr. Journalist have managed to put correct numbers in.

But this morning I read from news there was a robbery in Dublin, where 39 600 cans of beer was stolen along with the lorry carrying them. They said the estimated value of the contents were almost € 150 000. So that's about 3.80 per can. I doubt it very much that the price of beer has quadrupled in Ireland.

We don't even need highly complicated (5th grade) percentage calculations with this one. Straight forward 150 000 / 39 600 = 3.78787878... Next time you, Mr. Journalist, write any news article, please do the following, choose in your Windows computer Start/All Programs/Accessories/Calculator, or Mac: Applications/Calculator, type the numbers in and press enter. Just try it out. And if a can of beer costs €3.80, you can suspect that there might be an error in your calculations or in the data you were given.

The news article I'm referring to is in Finnish newspaper where they told us it was cans. That's just ridiculous. With a bit of searching (Google: dublin beer lorry) the first article I found explains that it was, in fact, kegs of beer intended to go to pubs. €3.80 per pint is the normal bar price. Yes. €3.80 per a can is not.

So please, if you write a news article, please please stick to the facts. You know, by definition 'news' should contain facts.

I don't want to bother you too much asking to get percentages correct in the future news articles. I know this might be way too complicated.

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