Montreal Journalists Can't Count
News Brief
Montreal Journalists Can’t Count
Last Thursday, more than 2,000 and fewer than 76,000 people marched through the streets of Montreal to protest austerity—and that’s as accurate as news reports on the demonstration allow us to be.

Last Thursday, more than 2,000 and fewer than 76,000 people marched through the streets of Montreal to protest austerity—and that’s as accurate as news reports on the demonstration allow us to be.

Media descriptions of the size of the April 2 march by students, trade unionists, professors and others include “a large throng,” “thousands,” “several thousand,” “tens of thousands,” “30 thousand,” “75 thousand” and more. The actual number of people at the demonstration is likely to remain indeterminate, but what is certain is that over or under representing the size of a protest is a disservice to readers and the objective difficulty of crowd counting creates room for subjective biases to seep into honest reporting.

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