Author: Larry Claasen

Dear journos: Don’t fear the spreadsheet

Dear fellow journos, I write to you with concern, as it has come to my attention that many, if not most of you dread working with spreadsheets. I understand this fear. Journalists tend to come from arts or politics backgrounds, and so have never needed to interact with a computerised accounting tool. Working on a spreadsheet might seem daunting, but how is this different from word processing? Back in the days before PCs, words were not processed but crafted. A whole thought had to be constructed before it could be typed out. I would argue PCs have changed the...

Read More

When the data doesn’t lie: Letting Banting off the hook

Photo by Xosema (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons “Cauliflower prices,” I thought to myself when I opened the data set. “Those damn Banters and their cauliflower bases.” The data in front of me contained monthly market reports on vegetable prices. I was looking at the data holistically, but an interesting trend caught my eye. Cauliflower prices were up, big time. It’s a story alright, but writing a story about one of the most boring vegetables that doesn’t make readers slip gently into a collective coma was not easy. The Banting diet, punted by Profesor Tim...

Read More

Cauliflower sales: A head for figures

Rest easy. If you are on the Banting diet, you cannot be held responsible for the increase in cauliflower prices — at the wholesale level anyway — over the past few months. Demand for cauliflower, especially in suburban supermarkets, has increased. The Banting diet was made popular by sports health scientist Tim Noakes in his book, The Real Meal Revolution. Noakes has attracted admiration and criticism for his support of a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet, which is not consistent with mainstream scientific views. To compensate for the absence of carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread and rice, Noakes advises people to...

Read More


Recent Tweets