MEDSTAT IV presents its training course on «Communication for statistics – C4S» at the 2018 Conference of the International Association for Official statistics
Paris, September 21, 2018
“There is a strong mutual interest, from both journalists and statisticians, for establishing a reinforced dialogue around the dissemination of key economic and social indicators”.
Experts from the MEDSTAT IV project talked about the training for trainers course “communication for statistics” in front of an audience of senior statisticians on the 3rd day of the 2018 IAOS Conference “Better statistics for better lives”. The C4S course intended to make statisticians and journalists work closer together in order to strengthen communication and information in the media on key statistical indicators and to propagate a sense of trust in official statistics through a better understanding of what is behind the data.
The session was chaired by Eduardo Barredo Capelot, Director at Eurostat. The project Leader, Thierry Paccoud, first introduced the project and the specific C4S activity. Two free-lance journalists, Amiram Dan Barkat from Israel and Nibal Thawabteh from Palestine, gave the audience the perspective they have in the relations with statistics as users and illustrated the way a closer relation may help strengthening their confidence in the data produced by the official statistical system. To conclude, a statistician from the Haut Commissariat au Plan in Morocco, Kamel Gaanoun, presented the C4S national process as it was initiated following the regional training for trainers phase.
The discussion that followed the presentations from the speakers highlighted the multiple challenges that are still ahead before trust and confidence are fully established between the two groups. It also showed that there is a huge interest in the relation with the journalists as medias are a major channel for disseminating statistical information to a large public. However, statisticians and journalists don’t speak the same language and don’t work on the same time frame. Establishing a useful relation may require to better know each other and to better understand the constraints the two groups face in their respective professional environments.
Today in the MED countries, there is a stronger demand of dialogue from the side of the journalists. But, there are lessons to learn from both sides and the relation is two-ways Avenue and the statisticians start seeing also what they have to gain from the exchange. In some cases, the cooperation may not be as direct and transparent as it was expected. Where the relation should end is also an issue to consider with in mind independence and objectivity on both side. The rapid development of the social media also brings new pressure on both groups and this may lead to give more importance to speed than to reliability.
To learn more:
Questions at: MEDSTAT4@expertisefrance.fr
Documents at: http://www.oecd.org/iaos2018/