We urgently need a robust national conversation about the serious and imminent challenges facing the 2020 Census, underscoring the important role it plays in the political, economic and civic life of the nation. To avoid a failed count, we need strong, fact-based reporting to fuel this conversation, and to perhaps point to potential solutions and opportunities. But these are complicated issues, requiring knowledge from local communities as well as subject area experts.
Responding to this complexity, we have started a project to help local newsrooms pair with academic researchers including social scientists, demographers, computer scientists and data scientists. To kick things off, we are taking a trip from Detroit to Oakland, stopping in Chicago, Dodge City KS, Albuquerque, Window Rock AZ, and Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.
- Jan 6, 7 Detroit and Lansing
- Jan 8, 9 Chicago
- Jan 11-13 Dodge City KS
- Jan 15 Albuquerque
- Jan 16 Window Rock AZ
- Jan 17 Los Angeles
We are looking for journalists and researchers in these cities, or along the route, who would like to participate in pitch sessions, with the goal of improving census coverage. How can academic researchers and journalists collaborate to identify impactful, locally relevant stories that make plain the needs for an accurate census count? We are planning meetings with university researchers, with newsrooms, and with civil society groups. Sometimes these are separate interviews, sometimes these are “speed dating” meet-and-greet sessions — it depends on the city.
In Chicago, for example, we have partnered with Public Narrative to hold a mixer. Do come by if you are in Chicago the evening of January 8!
NewsCounts aims to go beyond stories that present a tick-tock of what to expect from the census process, although these are crucially important. Instead we hope to surface stories explaining how the decennial counts impact communities. From epidemiology to urban planning to social science, academic researchers can help provide ideas for, and expertise implementing, significant stories about the importance of being counted in 2020.