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McCormick SRI: Going Deep with Census Demographic and Economic Data
The U.S. Bureau of the Census is the nation’s premier data-gathering and dissemination agency. The bureau, along with sister data agencies such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, collects and analyzes data on a wide range of demographic and economic topics. These include everything from the decennial census to tabulations and surveys covering employment, wages, government finances, housing, foreign trade, criminal justice and much more. But few reporters know about this cornucopia of information and how it can be used for stories. Thanks to a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University brought together 17 journalism data power users and Census subject area specialists to do 40-minute how-to presentations on these topics.
The full presentations are offered in video format, organized by topic. You also can download accompanying slides from the presenters. If you want to jump to a particular point in a video presentation, refer to the time stamps at the bottom of the slides.
The session videos require QuickTime, which is a free download from Apple.
Ron Nixon, correspondent, The New York Times
This overview of the 2010 census includes information on changes from previous censuses and what data is available now and how it can be used. The discussion also covers population counts, race and ethnicity definitions, redistricting data, public use microdata and other data sets.
D’Vera Cohn, senior writer, Pew Research Center
This how-to guide for using annually updated local, state and national numbers from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey covers topics and types of information provided by the ACS as well as how to use the data in stories across a range of beats.
Joe Germuska, news application developer, Chicago Tribune
An introduction to census geography and strategies for news applications, including online map-making. Topics covered include major census geography types, three approaches to online maps, an introduction to census.ire.org and suggestions on where to go for more information.
Ron Campbell, staff writer, The Orange County Register
Getting Census demographic and economic data in a useful format can be a challenge for reporters and other users. This presentation explains how to quickly use the redesigned version of American Fact Finder to download exactly what is needed.
Robert Gebeloff, database projects editor, The New York Times
For the answers to some questions, the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation provides better answers than the more often used American Community Survey. The CPS provides annual time series that connect the dots pre- and post-ACS, and it allows for customizable tables via micro data. The SIPP takes it a step further, allowing users to conduct longitudinal analyses.
Steve Doig, Knight Chair, Arizona State University
This presentation covers the wide range of corrections and crime data collected and studied by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the data collection and analysis unit of the U.S. Department of Justice. It tells how to get the data and special reports prepared by BJS and offers ideas for stories that can be pursued using this data.
Wes Basel, production team leader, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program, U.S. Census Bureau
This session provides concrete guidance on how to choose the best economic and demographic data for comparing regions of the country. Learn how to examine trends with past recessions and make comparisons between counties, age groups and demographic groups.
Katie Genadek, research assistant,