Top tips to statisticians communicating through the media, especially in the time of COVID-19

Kevin McConway (The Open University)* and David Spiegelhalter (University of Cambridge)**

Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic has brought an unprecedented demand from the media for statistical commentary. Whereas a trip to a studio for a radio or TV interview was once an exciting novelty for a statistician, the seller’s market over the pandemic means that many requests have to be turned down, and the rest fitted in with family life at home.

General tips for dealing with the media

1. Get media training

Particular points for statisticians

4. Sound human

Best to avoid this kind of statistical explanation

Finally, on relationships with the media

11. Make friends with journalists ….

Statistician, communicator about evidence, risk, probability, chance, uncertainty, etc. Chair, Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, Cambridge.

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