This paper is from Session 7A: Statistics and the media
which comes under Topic 7: Statistics education and the wider society
(Monday 12th, 11:00-12:30)
Statistics on national radio: some insights from working with professional broadcasters
BBC Radio 4, the second most popular radio station in the UK, is a spoken word station run by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). A programme on numbers, More or Less, has grown from a small beginning in 2001 to be a key regular part of the Radio 4 current affairs output, with around 1.2 million listeners to each programme and an international reach through two websites, podcasts and streamed audio. Its ‘numbers’ remit is interpreted very broadly, but economics and statistics form the bulk of the topics covered. Since 2005, the programme has been produced in partnership with the Open University. This paper describes the partnership from the point of view of the academic partners, outlining the differences in approach, purpose and timescales between academics and journalists, and proposing that these differences have contributed to the strength of the programme and its role in educating students, journalists and the wider public.