Investigative Reporters and Editors is pleased to announce the next phase in our ongoing Census project, designed to make it easier and faster for journalists to work with 2010 Census data.

The new online interactive tool has been developed to crunch and download data from the next series of census data releases this summer. The project is the result of work by journalists from the The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, the Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, funded through generous support from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The goal of IRE Census Data website is to provide reporters a simpler way to access census data so they can spend less time importing and managing the data and more time exploring and reporting the data. The site will provide the latest 2010 data for states, counties, cities and towns (“places” in Census-speak), and census tracts. The amount of change (or “delta”) since 2000 will also be included where possible.

Users will begin by selecting the areas they are interested in and viewing data for those areas side by side on the website. The data for the selected areas can then be downloaded in CSV or JSON formats for use with other programs such as Excel.

The project will be free and publicly available upon its launch later this month. Data will be posted as quickly as possible after each official release from the Census Bureau. Once the data releases are complete, the site will be maintained at the IRE website.

To see the beta version of the site, go to: http://censusweb.beta.tribapps.com/. Important note: This site is populated with data for Delaware, and this is NOT the new census data.

Do no use this for reporting; it is meant to give you an idea of how the site will work.

The live site will be found at www.ire.org/census. We plan to launch it later this month.

Thanks to the following journalists for their time and expertise: Brian Boyer, Joe Germuska and Chris Groskopf of The Chicago Tribune; Jeremy Ashkenas and Aron Pilhofer of The New York Times; Paul Overberg of USA Today; Curt Merrill of CNN; Matt Waite of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Mike Tigas of the Spokesman-Review.