Covering the 2020 Census

  • Event: 2019 CAR Conference
  • Speakers: Mark Hansen of Columbia Journalism School; Jodi Upton of Syracuse University; Gerson Vasquez of Census Bureau; Hansi Wang of NPR
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Mar. 7 at 2:15pm
  • Location: Salon C
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Census 2020 is less than a year away, and many different kinds of reporting will be required to adequately cover it. From lawsuits and policies to misinformation campaigns on social media, to the new changes to differential privacy rules around data release, a journalist working the census has a vast beat. 

Local outlets have a special responsibility to make sure their communities are informed of the impact of being adequately counted. This means stories that underscore the importance of a good count (for both political as well as economic reasons -- nearly $900 billion a year in federal funds will return to communities based on these counts), and make sure their vulnerable populations are being addressed. 

This panel discussion will cover the different aspects involved in adequately covering the 2020 Census, including both Census officials and journalists currently on the beat.

Speaker Bios

  • Mark Hansen is a Professor in the Columbia Journalism School where he also serves as director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation. Prior to joining Columbia, he was a professor in the Department of Statistics at UCLA. Hansen began his career as a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ. He holds a BS in Applied Math from UC Davis, and a PhD and MA in Statistics from UC Berkeley. @cocteau

  • Jodi Upton is the Knight Chair in Data and Explanatory Journalism at Syracuse University, where she is developing a data journalism program. Previously, she was Senior Database Editor at USA TODAY, where she led a team on stories from mass killings to Medicare fraud to football coach contracts. She was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and is a consultant for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

  • Gerson Vasquez began his career with the Census Bureau in 2008. He continues to play pivotal roles in 2020 Census planning, the web transformation of, census data use & adoption, ongoing projects in communications, innovations using the Census API and creating data visualizations. The official Twitter handle for the U.S. Census Bureau is @uscensusbureau

  • Hansi Lo Wang is a national correspondent based at NPR's New York bureau. Wang covers the 2020 census, the changing demographics of the U.S. and breaking news for NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, hourly newscasts and He tweets a lot about the census @hansilowang.

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