Why I’m glad Samir Husni has a blog

I’m pleading guilty to inciting a rant. When I saw this Financial Times article in which the reporter, Joshua Chaffin, hung his story’s premise on statistics he chose to make up rather than look up, I knew I could do one of two things: repeat my typical rant about reporter math or just forward a link to the galaxy’s leading authority on the statistics the reporter dreamed up. And whoop, there it is. As Professor Husni is chairman of the journalism department at Ole Miss, I’m hoping his students are being inspired by his skills with a calculator.

  • Lesley

    Tell me about it! I’m glad he’s registered his objection as well.

  • There are no statistics in that Financial Times article, and no mention of Husni.

    Did you get the URL wrong, or have they edited the story?

  • Rex Hammock

    Responding to Paul Ding:

    I didn’t intend to suggest there was a mention of Samir Husni in the article — sorry if you interpreted it that way.

    As for there being “no statistics” in the article:

    Statistics don’t always have to be written in numerical form. This was a business story in a business publication — the Financial Times — and the reporter presented his perceptions of a business function (launching magazines are a business startup) in the form of statistics with the following two sentences:

    “In the history of US magazine launches, the high point may have been August 1999, when Tina Brown’s Talk magazine debuted…”

    These days, new magazine launches – let alone big-budget events – are few and far between.

    Those two statements are claims suggesting there are some underlying statistics that support them. He did not write, “the high point in terms of glitz and glamor,” rather it is a statement in business story presenting as truth his perception that magazines are no longer launched — that, rather, magazine companies launch online properties instead. Let me be clear: I am a big fan of online properties and I’m very happy that magazine companies are launching online properties. But the facts — as Samir has pointed out — directly contradict the perception that magazines are launched less today than in 1999.