Be Excel-lent

Just as we were beginning our CAR and data-driven reporting unit for the semester–including an introduction to Excel–Poynter published  this:  Learning is a key for success in today’s newsrooms.

I was excited by the timeliness of the post, because it’s not such an easy task convincing writers that they need also to be numbers people.  This article could help me make my case.

And I needed it, because, see, I’m not all that good at math myself.  Or at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself of since I took my last math class back as an undergraduate.  (And that block to math has led me to all sorts of red-in-the-face moments in my classroom when I’m attempting to do simple math like put students into groups by counting off–counting off, for goodness sake!)

So, to persuade my journalism students that data is important and that Excel is a computer skill that can put them ahead of the pack, I need all the help I can get.   That doesn’t mean I’m an expert at Excel.  In fact, one of the things that I’ve realized in learning Excel myself is that, although Excel does the heavy lifting, I don’t always initially understand the math Excel is helping me compute in the first place.

That’s why I’m even more appreciative of those kind souls out there who are trying to throw us writerly mathophobes a lifeline:

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About Nancy Kaplan-Biegel

I am the journalism program coordinator at Skyline College in San Bruno, CA, as well as the adviser to The Skyline View.

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