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: