What readers think of Big Numbers

Sometimes a picture (or three) is worth a thousand words…

First we have this…

Followed by this…

And finally, courtesy of a quick Google search covering the last two working days, this…

Sometimes it’s convenient to wrap up the big numbers for a headline (and the bigger the number, the better the headline, right?) but the fact is that it can be meaningless to a reader. Not saying I’m going to completely stop putting Big Numbers in headlines, but I’ll certainly think about whether I’m making it easier or harder for readers to decipher whether justice was done*. After all, a ten-strong gang jailed for a total of 100 years could well equate to10 years apiece, and each defendent might serve seven years of that sentence. Which is actually not that long.

* So well done Click Liverpool for a nice clear intro, which I didn’t spot it until after my screengrab.

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About Alison Gow

I'm a journalist, particularly interested in story-telling, networks and digital innovation.
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