Sunday, September 19, 2010

Orange County Register's Series on Immigration and California

Updated: 6:06 PM September 21, 2010: To listen to the September 20, 2010 show, click here:

Updated: 10:44 PM September 19, 2010: with info. on KDMC's workshop on using data to report stories.

On the next edition of Subversity, broadcasting at 5 p.m. Monday, 20 September, 2010, on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, and simulcast via, we talk with Orange County Register reporter Ronald Campbell, the author of a heavily sourced and data-based four-part series on Immigration and California currently being published in his paper.

We discuss with him the origin of the idea for the series, the response from readers, and what he has learned from all this. The series began September 12 in the paper (September 10 online) and runs every Sunday since (and previous Friday online) until October 3, 2010.

Focusing on immigrant labor, undocumented immigration, how immigrants make life easier for the rich, and policy reform, one unique feature has been its footnoting like an academic paper, as well as the many data charts and graphics (mostly online), allowing readers to visually view the impact of immigration on this county and state.
The article also seeks to explain the numbers, using Public-Use Micro Sample data from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as, for historical data, I-PUMS, from the University of Minnesota's Population Studies Center. It also provides a short reading list. Explains OC Register editor Ken Brusic in a Note to readers: "We have also taken the unusual step of footnoting our stories so you can follow the chain of documents and numbers that led to our conclusions. Online you can view, download and analyze for yourself three dozen spreadsheets that help tell the economic story of immigration in California."

Ronald Campbell is an investigative reporter for The Orange County Register. He has published investigations on the buying and selling of human body parts as well as about penny stocks and hard-money lending. Two subjects of his investigations currently are in jail. In addition he has years of experience mining government data to shed light on social and economic issues as diverse as student achievement and home lending. Campbell took Knight Digital Media Center's April 2008 Technology Tools for Journalists Workshop, where reporters learn how to "report stories out of large data sets, use visualization and mapping tools to create different forms of narratives." 20 fellowships for reporters are available for the next workshop, on US census data, at UC Berkeley.

Ronald Campbell is interviewed by Subversity show host Daniel C. Tsang, who curated the exhibit, "Immigrant Lives in 'The O.C.' & Beyond" at UC Irvine Libraries.

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