Greg Jericho, columnist at The Guardian and policy director at the Centre for Future Work talks with passion about communicating with data. This was a wonderful chat with someone who has really thought through how and why we use data, and what it can do for us. Check it out!
“A good graph just explains what’s going on. Don’t think that data is all about maths, and how technical and how wonderful your maths can be. Sometimes it’s just ‘oh, look, I averaged these things and showed that actually all the movement that seems to have been happening over the last 12 months just turns out to be a lot of noise.'”
“I just kept digging, and looking through the spreadsheets and going through them, and opening up this spreadsheet and finding out what’s in this one… I just sort of built up a knowledge and thought ‘why isn’t anyone else doing this? Isn’t this the obvious thing to do?’ and it wasn’t until I started working as a journalist that I realised no, journalists just read the press release.”
“We don’t actually need to get a quote from a politician to tell us what’s going on, the data has the story.” “When you start looking at data there is a natural case of just using the most common data. It took a while for me to have the confidence to, for example, now when I’m doing GDP figures I always look at things like real household disposable income per capita. The problem is there is no figure for that in the national accounts. You have to construct it yourself using four different spreadsheets.”
“I’ve gone from just not reading the media release, to not even caring what their numbers are and actually finding my own numbers. Which is always a fun thing, because you find things that you haven’t looked at in the past and think ‘oh, this is something new and cool.'”
“So much of what we take as given in the economic debate really is just based on belief.”