Finding story ideas hidden inside census data

By Anh Nguyen It’s not uncommon to see a news story citing percentages and analyses that sounds like they came from an expert who specializes in collecting data and doing math, such as “21.3 percent of the U.S. participates in Government Assistance Program each month.” Where this information comes from and how it’s collected are…

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A demo of Census Reporter, designed to help journalists highlight what matters in the census

By Gwen Girsdansky Census data can be difficult and cumbersome, and certainly not tailored toward the average journalist’s needs. Census Reporter is a young project, funded by the Knight Foundation, that is supposed to make the data easier for journalists to use and to provide an extensive update to the IRE census project, census.ire.org. As…

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PANDA: Make the robots work for you

As expected, there was no shortage of swag at “Make the robots work for you,” a panel on implementing PANDA, data store of the gods, brought down the mountain to a newsroom near you. (In the interest of full disclosure, the integrity of your reviewer was compromised by a free T-shirt.) For those of you…

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SBA disaster loan data updated in NICAR Database Library

In the wake of a disaster, individuals and business owners are often left with severely damaged property. Many turn for help to the Small Business Administration, which approves low-interest loans to help rebuild. For declared disasters in 2011 alone, the Small Business Administration approved over $1 billion in loans. NICAR has updated the SBA database of these loans,…

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IRE members winners in Knight News Challenge

Three IRE members were awarded Knight Foundation grants that will create online resources for journalists. The grants are part of six news innovations intended to improve access to information on local communities, air quality, elections, demographics and more that in total received $2.22 million as winners of Knight News Challenge: Data. The Knight Foundation said…

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Census offerings at CAR conference

Confused by the 2010 Census? Not sure of the difference between the decennial census and the annual American Community Survey? Worried about data issues? Looking for fresh census story ideas? If so, the 2011 Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference has you covered. If you haven’t registered, you have until noon (CST) on Monday, Feb. 14, to register…

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Census webinar ready for download

This month, new American Community Survey data for census tracts will be released. This will be the first detailed demographic data at the neighborhood level from the U.S. Census Bureau since the 2000 “long form.” To help you make sense of the treasure trove of story ideas at the local level, IRE has produced a…

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IRE census training in Vegas plus webinars

Investigative Reporters and Editors will present a half-day census workshop Oct. 4 during the SPJ national convention in Las Vegas. Full details are online at http://www.spj.org/c-halfday.asp. USA TODAY database editor Paul Overberg and IRE training director Doug Haddix will lead the in-depth sessions. You’ll leave with story ideas, a better understanding of how to use…

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