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WRITING WITH NUMBERS

Last Update: Monday, Feb. 3, 2003.

Note: This page was audited on June 13, 2002, and broken links were removed or repaired. It's a good idea to cross check results on the different calculators. Sometimes they yield different results. Pages will launch into a new browser.


Recent Additions to This Section
(This section features sites added to the page in the last few weeks.
Each link is cross-referenced on the page in its proper category.)

IRE Interactive Math Quiz
After you've taken the test, click on the link at the bottom of the page to find out how to arrive at the correct answers. The test covers calculating percentages, ages, murder rates, property tax bills, as well as estimating the size of a crowd and determine average and median salaries. The test is great for college journalism classes and newsroom training sessions.

Statistics.com

A useful mileage calculator is on this site that advertises travel to Bali, Indonesia, believe it or not.


We recently ran across a good example of how to put some large numbers or obscure measurements into context that the average reader can relate to:

Q. Is there some way to put 488 acres into context, i.e., what is that as big as?

A. One acre is equivalent to 43,560 sq. feet or 4,840 sq. yards. One football field is equivalent to 57,240 Sq. feet. So one acre is 76% the size of a football field. In the Midwest, farms were homesteaded and also sold by the railroads in quarter sections. A section is 640 acres. A section is also one square mile. A quarter section is 160 acres. Three quarter sections add up to 480 acres. Where I am from in Iowa the farmers often talk in terms of how many farms a person has. If the farm was 488 acres the farmer would call that three farms or 3/4 of a section. Or just 488 acres.


IRE Interactive Math Quiz
After you've taken the test, click on the link at the bottom of the page to find out how to arrive at the correct answers. The test covers calculating percentages, ages, murder rates, property tax bills, as well as estimating the size of a crowd and determine average and median salaries. The test is great for college journalism classes and newsroom training sessions.

Robert Niles: Statistics Writers Should Know
An excellent reference primer from the LA Times' Robert Niles on stats for journalists.Start here with several math tutorials!

Robert Niles: Figuring Percent Change

Newsthinking.com's Math Refresher
A great quick-study in figure percentages, ratios, etc.

Math Mistakes
Common errors by reporters, advertisers, politicians and activists.

Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics

History of Mathematics
Lots of solid background information.

Newsengin.com
Created by reporters, this site offers free computer tools, including cost-of-living calculators that adjust for inflation.

Online Conversion Tool
Site has more than 8,100 calculators and conversion tables.

SalaryExpert.com
A free provider of salary information from a veteran compensation and benefits consulting firm. It site shows pay data for over 30,000 jobs and displays pay data for more than 45,000 U.S./Canada cities.

ExploreMath.com
Animated equations show you how the variables change. Great for working out problems.

Statistics.com

Online Conversion
Offers thousands of calculators of various kinds.

Mathematics Conversions
English to metric, etc.

AFL-CIO CEO Raise Calculator
Type in your pay and see what it would be like to be a CEO receiving a CEO's raise.

Molecular Weight Calculator
Just input the formula, and it returns the molecular weight to 13 decimal places.

Math for Journalists
Bruce Garrison of Miami University has put together this remedial tutorial.

Metric Converter

Homefair.com
This site also has a good salary calculator.

Distance Converter

Currency Converter
A great site, but always double-check your findings against another calculator.

New York Time Exchange
This is a fun site that looks at time as a NYC commodity.

Online Calculator Center
More calculators than you can imagine.

NASA Calculators
This site has it all: salary calculator, cost of living index. CPI, inflation index.

CJR Inflation Index
Columbia Journalism Review site offers dollar conversion calculator.

Federal Inflation Index
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Newsengin Inflation Calculator
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

West Egg Inflation Calculator
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Auriton Solutions
Calculators figure your cost of credit and the size of a mortgage you can afford.

Aetna Finanical Calculators

Quicken.com Debt Reduction Planner

Bankrate.com Gas Price Calculators

UnitsConverter.net Measurement Converters

Virginia Commonwealth University: Math Test for Journalists

University of North Carolina: Math Test for Journalists

KitchenMath.com
Conversion tables for cooking measurements.

Convert-Me.com
"Interactive calculators for many measurement systems both commonly used like metric and U.S. Avoirdupois and quite exotic like Ancient Greek and Roman."

"Math Tools for Journalists" Book
Written by veteran educator Kathleen Woodruff Wickham Ed.D., "Math Tools" explains math concepts in layman?s language and shows how these concepts apply to situations journalists face every day. Cost: $16.95.

Interest Calculator
Determine compounded daily interest.

Universal Currency Converter
Contains currency information on 180 currencies in over 250 geographical locations.

Check Your Weight on Other Planets

The Original Tipping Page
Lists acceptable amounts for specific situations.

DeathClock.com
How many seconds do you have left?

Catalog of Math Resources
A great set of links from the University of Wisconsin.

WWW Virtual Library: Mathematics
More great links from Florida State University.

CNNfn.com's Finance Tips and Tools Page
Mortgage and refinance calculator, college planner, track stocks and more.

TaxMama.com
Fun with tax statistics.

For more business and personal finance sites, go to the Business section.

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