Data Journalism: Using Census Data in Stories


Christine McKenna

This Census/ACS module is part of a larger course section on data journalism. It is intended to develop the research skills of students with little or no reporting experience so that they can use Census/ACS data in subsequent journalism classes. The module also introduces them briefly to data visualization options and tools. The primary focus of the exercises is on New York demographics so that students can develop a comfort level navigating the data and the various online analytic tools. Sources of national data will also be covered to a lesser degree.

Learning Goals

Skills -Identify Census/ACS data sets to use in reporting and writing.

-Use a range of programs to access Census/ACS data.

-Describe and analyze simple descriptive statistical information.

-Visualize Census/ACS data in the form of charts, graphs and maps.

Substance -Develop a comfort and familiarity with types of Census/ACS data and when to use each.

-Use Census/ACS data to explain or illustrate demographic trends in a New York City neighborhood.

-Use Census/ACS releases to develop story ideas.

Description and Teaching Materials

This module will take 2-3 weeks, depending on the class time.

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