Figures are a minefield for journalists. Some find simple arithmetic difficult. Others, having grasped the point of a story involving figures, seem determined to inflict every minor detail on the reader. Journalists often exaggerate the importance of anything to do with figures and fail to apply their critical faculties to claims based on them.
What cannot be overstated is the need for journalists to be numerate as well as literate. Figures, after all, are facts expressed in numerical terms. If you cannot understand percentages, how can you expect to write an accurate story about them?
If, in 2011, 20 per cent of British people go to the cinema at least once, and in 2012, 25 per cent go, that is not an increase of ...