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IRE expands Census toolkit

Investigative Reporters and Editors has produced, gathered and organized a wealth of resources for mining census data. New Census 2010 data will be released on a rolling basis through the summer. American Community Survey census data comes out every year now, down to the tract level. Here’s a sample of the tools to help IRE members with background, story ideas, data and more:

Census panels at the CAR Conference

Join us Feb. 24-27 in Raleigh, N.C., for the annual Computer-Assisting Reporting Conference. This year, we’re offering a variety of census training. Get story ideas to cover the big Census 2010 data releases that began this month and continue through summer. Dive deeper with the American Community Survey to mine stories from the every-year census survey. And learn how to navigate the newly revamped American FactFinder, the U.S. Census Bureau’s online tool for extracting census data and mapping it. Census experts at the conference will include Paul Overberg, USA Today; Steve Doig, Arizona State University; Robert Gebeloff, The New York Times; Ron Campbell, The Orange County Register; Burt Hubbard, Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network; and Phillip Reese, The Sacramento Bee. Early-bird discounted registration is available until Feb. 14. The full schedule and registration details are online at


Need a focused overview with loads of census story ideas, data tips and a detailed timetable of data releases? IRE has produced two half-hour webinars to help you gear up: one for Census 2010 and the other for the American Community Survey. Download them at Each half-hour webinar costs $5 (IRE members) or $10 (nonmembers). Each is a single PDF file with built-in audio.

Custom Data

Through a new partnership with USA TODAY, IRE members can download analysis-ready files for census redistricting data, being released through March for all states. The spreadsheet files include comparable Census 2000 data for tracking trends during the past decade at several levels, including state, counties, cities, tracts, school districts and legislative districts. IRE members can download files as they’re released state-by-state at

Online Resources

Visit our one-stop site: There, you’ll find other training opportunities, links to think tanks and other online resources, IRE census tipsheets, IRE Journal stories about census coverage, and official documents and guides from the U.S. Census Bureau. New resources are added regularly.

Census Listserv

IRE maintains various listservs, including one dedicated to the census. Members can search the list serv archives, post new questions seeking advice and contribute their census expertise to the greater IRE community. With each data release, activity picks up on the census listserv as members share knowledge, point out potential problems and help find solutions. Details are online at

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