Wednesday was a busy day preparing for the start of sessions on Thursday, but one panel was already under way — “Breaking Local Stories with Economic Data,” hosted by the (Sponsored by Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism).
Paul Overberg of USA Today and Thomas Dall and Jeannine Aversa of the Bureau of Economic Analysis shared tips on using data to uncover local economic trends that set your reporting apart.
The release of the five-year Economic Census provides a timely opportunity to track changes between 2007 and 2012.
Here’s a quick snapshot from the Reynolds Center post of what the session offered:
“The key is to know where to look on often confusing government websites and then how to analyze the data you find. Just in time for the International Year of Statistics, this self-guided training will provide you with a road map to finding and delivering at least five local enterprise stories from the data collected by each of these government agencies:
- Census Bureau, including the Economic Census and County Business Patterns data. For inspiration, take a look at this Reuters series on income inequality that made extensive use of Census data.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis, including gross domestic product and personal income by local area.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, including local unemployment trends and ways to figure which industries are highly represented in your area. The key fact in a New York Times Magazine piece about Tallapoosa County, Ala., called, “Who Wears the Pants in This Economy,” came from BLS data; it indicated women are proving more adaptable than men in coping with economic change, such as the downturn in manufacturing.”
If you missed this session and are interested in learning more about covering economic issues, here’s a list of upcoming trainign from the Reynolds center:
- Branding for Journalists: You Being You…Online: March 5, with Reynolds Center Digital Director Robin J. Phillips.
- Power Searching for Business Journalists: March 19, with Google research scientist Dan Russell.
- Getting the Goods – Interviews that Work: May 8-9, with Pulitzer winner and Knight Chair Jacqui Banaszynski.
- Shell Companies and Fraud: An Investigative Primer: May 21, with award-winning investigative reporter and Reynolds Center staffer Kelly Carr.
- The Business of Me: June 4-6, with 10,000 Words blog founder Mark S. Luckie.
- SEC Filings Master Class: Sept. 17-19, with Footnoted.com founder Michelle Leder.
- Breaking Local Stories with Economic Data, with USA Today’s Paul Overberg: Washington, April 4 and San Antonio, June 19.
- Uncovering the Best Local Business Stories: Fayetteville, Ark., April 12, with UNC Professor Chris Roush.
- Accountability in Indian Country – Be a Better Business Watchdog: Phoenix, July 18, with IRE Training Director Jaimi Dowdell.