Database Quickies: Census

Start of a series on databases accessible quickly to add value to a daily story. 

Here's just a portion of the screen from the Census Quick Facts page for Onondaga County, N.Y.

I’ve just finished teaching students about databases that can be accessed quickly and can make a story stronger with context or a take-away fact. Reporters, especially in TV,  have so little time now to research anything, so I thought @readyreporter readers might like to know about some of these quick helps.  I’ll start today and share several over the next few weeks.

One easy-to-use site is the Census Quick Facts database.  While digging through the full census site  is a bit daunting, the Quick Facts page is just three clicks away and gives a lot of interesting information such as:

  • population under 5, or over 65
  • number of veterans
  • home ownership rate
  • commute time
  • per capita (money) income and median household income
  • home residency more than one year
  • business ownership by women and minorities
  • building permits

You can search by city or county and it doesn’t take long to add up the numbers for the counties in your media market.  Try it out.

And if you have a database or website that is essential to your reporting, leave a comment below. I’d like to learn from you.

This entry was posted in Backgrounding for News Stories, Databases. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply