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Mining the Census for Local Business Stories: Dallas, April 7

The Particulars

Time: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. April 7

Location: Southern Methodist
James M. Collins Executive
Education Center, Classroom 120
3150 Binkley Ave
Dallas, Texas 75205
Access campus map here.
(Collins Center is No. 49.)

Instructors: Steve Doig, Knight Chair in
Journalism at Arizona State University,
and Paul Overberg, database
editor for USA Today

Hotel Palomar
Workshop precedes the SABEW
annual conference April 7-9 at SMU.

Registration is now closed.

Wondering what’s in the Census for a business journalist? The answer is a lot of good stories — if you know where to look.

One example is a recent Brookings Institute report that relied on Census and IRS data to track the rise of poverty in the suburbs as a result of the recession.

Find out how to mine the Census and other government data for local business stories at one of two free workshops: Jan. 31 in Philadelphia and April 7 in Dallas. The April 7 workshop will precede the SABEW annual conference at Southern Methodist University, which opens that evening.

Steve Doig

Your instructors will be two stalwarts in the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR): Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School, and Paul Overberg, database editor for USA Today.

Each daylong session will cover how to access and analyze local business data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Economic Census, County Business Patterns, Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics, plus how to track foreign trade, gross domestic product and household income down to the local level.


Paul Overberg

Paul Overberg has been USA TODAY’s database editor since 1993. He is one of the foremost experts among journalists on the U.S. Census and has trained journalists through Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists on how to cover the Census. He describes his job as finding news in data. “Often, it’s demographic data. But I analyze lots of numbers — airport security wait times, stream flows, Gallup poll data, campaign contributions,” he writes on USA Today’s website. “And data isn’t just numbers. I analyze speech texts and social networks and spatial patterns, too.” Before working at USA TODAY, he was a science and environmental reporter and editor at Gannett News Service in Washington and held a variety of reporting and editing roles at The Courier-News in Bridgewater, N.J. He holds a B.A. in history from Rutgers University.

Steve Doig joined the Cronkite School at Arizona State University as the Knight Chair, specializing in computer-assisted reporting, in 1996 after a 23-year career as a newspaper journalist, including 19 years at The Miami Herald. There, he served as research editor, pollster, science editor, columnist, federal courts reporter, state capital bureau chief, education reporter and aviation writer. At the Herald, he worked on “What Went Wrong,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1993 for revealing how weakened building codes and poor construction practices contributed to the damage from Hurricane Andrew. Doig is a political science graduate of Dartmouth College. He also graduated from, and later taught at, the Defense Information School, and spent a year as a combat correspondent for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star.

What You Will Learn

  • How to access and use Census and other government data sets with news about local businesses.
  • You do not need to be able to use Excel or Access to attend. It is not a hands-on class. However, you or someone in your newsroom will need database skills to analyze the data that the workshop teaches you about. For training in computer-assisted reporting (CAR) for business journalists, see the Reynolds Center’s Be a Better Business Watchdog workshop in Seattle on Sept. 13.

AGENDA: Mining the Census for Local Business Stories

8:30 a.m.: Continental breakfast reception and registration

9 a.m.: Overview of the Census: How the data is gathered and how to get at it — Steve Doig

10 a.m.: Analyzing American Community Survey data, including data by occupation — Paul Overberg

11 a.m.: Break

11:15 am.: Analyzing Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data — Overberg

12:15 p.m.: Box lunch provided.

1 p.m.: Analyzing County Business Patterns data — Overberg

1:45 p.m.: Break

2 p.m.: Analyzing data from the Economic Census, done of every business in years ending in 2 and 7 — Doig

3 p.m.: Analyzing gross domestic product down to the metro level — Overberg

3:30 p.m.: Analyzing foreign trade down to the state level — Doig

4:30 p.m.: Adjourn


Please do not register unless you are sincere about participating. Space is limited, and signing up and not participating deprives someone else of the opportunity.

Those who successfully complete three regional workshops or online seminars presented by the Reynolds Center are eligible to receive a “Circle of Achievement” certificate.

This free workshop is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. If you have any questions about the workshop or the center, please e-mail Executive Director Linda Austin or call 602-496-9187.

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