Monday, December 19, 2011

Telling the "right" story with scary stats

Stats seems to be on my mind lately. So far we had fun stats, sad stats, now it is time for scary stats. Wall Street Journal columnist Carl Bailik, aka "The Numbers Guy" provide some insights on using scary stats. These are the raw statistical data available:

The question is: How do you tell a story with these numbers that is convincing (i.e., can raise most money)?
Such messages can be effective in gaining attention and marshaling support, advocates say. But they also can mislead or even scare people ill-equipped to translate the numbers into their personal level of risk. And they can pit two diseases against each other in a fight over which one affects more people.

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