Posts Tagged ‘press’
Well, in anticipation of Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves’ press conference that starts in just over an hour (yes, for those people on the West Coast this is conveniently timed for 7AM – perhaps a move so nobody is actually on the call) the Commerce Department announced that the Census Bureau is under-budget and is returning more than $1.5 billion to the Treasury Department. Obviously, the timing of this statement is a Public Relations coup d’etat prior to the press conference, with the hopes of deflecting the rather tough questions that should be asked in regard to faulty operations. But let’s get some things straight here: The Census Bureau received $1 billion in extra cash from the stimulus package, so that means that its budget swelled to $14.7 billion after the initial budgeting was done. Additionally, the 2010 Census is NOT FINISHED. There are ongoing operations, including Census Coverage Measurement (CCM) and the recently added NRFU Residual Follow-Up. How much will these operations cost?
*Also, a note about the media: The mainstream media has been ALL OVER reporting this issue. I am upset by this for 2 reasons: 1. The media goes nuts whenever the Census Bureau does something good, but fails to criticize it when it is wrong. 2. I never received this press release even though I have informed the Census Bureau on numerous occasions that their time-sensitive releases don’t reach my inbox, and they have repeatedly assured me that they will correct the problem, but this hasn’t happened yet.
UPDATE: I called Census Bureau Asst. Director for Communications Burton Reist to follow up about this because I was tipped off that Dwight Dean was investigated for not following procedures and falling behind in NRFU operations. He said, “Mr. Dean is not currently involved in management. He is absolutely still employed…Wayne Hatcher from Charlotte has taken over the office and field operations in Detroit are running smoothly.” Upon me asking him a load of other questions, he simply replied no comment. Well, we all know that running smoothly line is a load of horse sh*t…now to find out the truth about the rest of it…
In the past few days I received some tips that Dwight Dean of the Detroit office was given the boot, both suddenly and mysteriously. Today, my suspicions were confirmed when the Census Bureau sent out this press release:
Census Bureau Statement on the Detroit Regional Office
Detroit Regional Director Dwight Dean is not currently involved in the
management of Regional operations. This is a personnel matter, and Mr.
Dean remains in the employment of the Census Bureau. In compliance with
the Privacy Act, the Census Bureau has no further comment.
In the interim, Wayne Hatcher, from the Charlotte Regional Office, is
serving as Acting Regional Director in Detroit. Elaine Wagner, Deputy
Regional Director, and Jonathan Spendlove, Assistant Regional Director,
continue to be involved with management of the office. Both are seasoned
managers, and Field operations in Detroit are functioning smoothly. As we
do with all twelve Regional Census Centers, we will continue to work with
the Detroit Region to provide any support they need to ensure a successful
2010 Census and fulfill other regional responsibilities.
The Washington Post’s Carol Morello added this commentary:
The longtime regional Census Bureau director in Detroit has been replaced, but census officials are declining to discuss the reasons behind the unusual move, which comes in the middle of census season.
Dwight P. Dean, a census employee since 1969 and regional director for the past 13 years, no longer has managerial responsibilities as of late last week, said Burton Reist, a census spokesman. Dean remains on the payroll, Reist said. When asked what work Dean was doing, Reist said, “I’m not sure.” Asked if Dean was on leave, Reist declined to comment further, saying it was a personnel matter.
According to a census biography, Dean was awarded the Department of Commerce’s bronze and silver medals in 1986 and 1991.
Attempts to reach Dean were unsuccessful.
Yesterday, Census Bureau Director Dr. Robert M.Groves held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC to answer questions from the media about 2010 Census operations. By reading media reports from across America, it is evident that most media workers don’t truly grasp what the 2010 Census is. After Dr. Groves’ gave his talk, the media had the opportunity to ask questions. The talk started at around 9:00AM and the Q&A portion of the press conference commenced at around 9:20. By 9:35 Census Bureau press spokesman Stephen Buckner ended the Q&A section when, as Buckner acknowledged, there were certainly people on the telephone who were participating in the press conference who still had questions to ask. This was wrong, as there were many questions that Dr. Groves didn’t have a chance to answer. (We will post the transcript of the press conference as soon as we get it.)
Though Mr. Buckner and the Census Bureau have stated that the media can e-mail the press office at email@example.com to ask further questions, that e-mail address is not currently functioning. This is the year 2010 (duh) and such a simple tech failure is inexcusable. The Public Information Office must 1. Take more questions from the media and not keep press conferences to approximately thirty minutes (rather than holding a standard one hour press conference) and 2. Fix the Census Bureau’s e-mail system immediately.
Here’s a screenshot of the failed e-mail:
Americans have once again been failed by the mainstream media. As I have expressed, MyTwoCensus.com is essentially a one-man operation. Yet, I still manage to file more than my fair share of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to obtain significant amounts of information from the Census Bureau (and I am subsequently dragged around in circles as it takes months to actually obtain the data I request…Thanks for the transparency that you promised when you were elected, Mr. President!).
Sadly, I am essentially the only journalist who is pursuing such information from the Census Bureau, as evidenced by my tracking of FOIA requests. Local, regional, state, and national news organizations should have reporters covering the 2010 Census beat, at least during this busy time. 99% of the stories written about the 2010 Census (my humble non-scientific estimate) are fluffy pieces that remind individuals to be part of the enumeration process. Most of these articles read like press releases from the Census Bureau — because in many cases they are simply a collection of tidbits from Census Bureau press releases that are hastily thrown together. That neither traditional media organizations, new media organization, nor government watchdog non-profits and think tanks have taken investigating 2010 Census operations seriously is a major travesty, and the effects of this failure will soon be evident.
Without sounding like Clark Hoyt of the New York Times or the Ombudsman of the Washington Post, I understand that in the past week I may not have had 100% accuracy in my stories. I attribute this to many factors:
1. There is an excessive amount of information flowing in to me right now, and it is difficult to analyze it all in real time.
2. The government has been extremely unhelpful in answering my inquiries within a short amount of time.
3. The government has been lying, exaggerating, and spinning the 2010 Census to create a false image about its current rate of success, while also failing to provide solid data from the 2000 Census to use as reference points.
4. In the midst of the aforementioned problems, I have at times found it more effective to throw out information onto the Internet and let my readers correct me, since other individuals may have more knowledge than me about specific issues. I then go back and correct what is wrong. This is a method that has been used by Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch for many years now with great success. In the future, I will specifically ask for readers to verify or disprove information if I am not 100% sure of its factual accuracy.
That said, the readers of this blog have proven themselves to be an extraordinarily intelligent and insightful group of people. And without you directing me where to go, I would not have been able to make as much progress with this blog during the past 13 months as I have. I hope that this active citizen and government employee participation continues so we can achieve the best results possible for America.
Note: If any readers are interested in volunteering for this site to help me obtain and sort through more information during these busy times, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
10:00 – pretty sure the census bureau dropped the ball on this one because i called back in and the line is dead…either the call is over or more likely the census bureau/call center made some sort of error…
9:55 – KNOCKED OFF THE CALL…did it go dead? my line is still working fine…come on!
9:52 – Question: Why don’t you mention single, unattached people under age 30 as a hard-to-count group?
9:31 – 134 million addresses in the USA. As of now, they are 2% points high, compared to 5% high in the 2000 address…there were more duplicates then.
9:29 – go in pairs, with escorts, in high crime areas (for census enumerators)…
9:28 – safety in america: FBI NAME-CHECK…ALL APPLICANTS UNDERGOING FINGERPRINTING…on criminal history check, any convinces for major crimes such as grand theft, child molestation…etc…”if there are convictions of less serious crimes then the applicant can be hired if they don’t pose a risk to the american public” – With so many people OUT OF WORK who don’t have felonies, why would you hire felons????
9:26 – Over 3.8 million people are being recruited for 1.2 million through 1.4 million people. 700,000 people working for the largest operation, Non-Response Follow Up from May through July 2010.
9:21 – Complete Count Committees forming…who ensures that there is bi-partisan representation on these 9,100 committees (37 in states). But are they bipartisan and independent?
9:20 – 135,000 partner organizations with the 2010 census…here’s one who’s not a partner anymore: ACORN
9:18 – 3 large processing centers open…
9:17 – Grovesy talks about the ad campaign that’s getting started. Starting enumeration in Alaska in January. In March, most of the US population receives their forms. April 1 is Census Day (and April Fools Day…ah)…people should return their forms by this day. Otherwise the door-knockers will come knock knock knocking…some talk of reapportionment. In April 2011 the state-redistricting data for local/regional races is distributed.
9:16 – Grovesy’s giving us a quick history lesson about the Census….founding fathers yadda yadda…yawn
9:15 – Dr. Groves is in da house so to speak for the second operational press briefing (shouldn’t we have more of these?)
9:15 – 2010 Census PR Man Stephen Buckner is on the line…
9:13 – We are still standing by…this hold music is now reminiscent of terrible elevator rides.
9:07 – Kind of enjoying the jazz rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…on second thought, take as much time as you need to start this call.
9:05 – Come on Grovesy…I’m hungry for answers. (Still waiting for call to begin…)
8:59 – Call should begin shortly…
** CENSUS BUREAU MEDIA ADVISORY **
Census Bureau Director to Provide Update on
Status of 2010 Census Operations
What: U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will brief the media on the status of 2010 Census operations. Groves will provide an assessment of the Master Address File, which serves as the source of addresses for mailing and delivering more than 130 million 2010 Census forms next March. He will also provide updates on outreach activities and other logistical operations under way. The briefing will include a question-and-answer session.
When: Monday, Dec. 14, 9 – 10 a.m. (EST)
Where: National Press Club, 13th floor
Fourth Estate Restaurant
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045
Members of the media may also participate by telephone. (Please dial-in early to allow time for the operator to place you in the call.)
A government agency with a beautiful web site is rare, and only when the Obama Administration redesigned and modernized WhiteHouse.gov were the American people able to get access to the sort of web site that should be standard for online government publications. Building off the success of the Obama ‘08 campaign’s successful use of social media, we are glad to see that the Census Bureau has, as of yesterday, gone above and beyond 21st century governmental web site norms by redesigning 2010.Census.gov. The new site embraces the Obama rhetoric that advocates interactivity and transparency even further than WhiteHouse.gov.
From a practical perspective, one of the best features of this new site will be the ability to track census questionnaire response rates of individual states and locales as the data results come in. (We hope that Steve Jost and the communications team at the Census Bureau will make it a priority to update this data on a daily basis.) If nothing else, this feature will motivate states, municipalities, and other regional districts to improve their participation numbers before the non-response follow up period ends. This part of the new site will also encourage friendly rivalries between politicians, states, and municipalities which will likely result in free and positive press for the Census Bureau. We also hope that Dr. Groves and other bloggers for the 2010 Census site continue to provide new information at frequent intervals.
While the idea of a new and improved web site is wonderful, if few people are viewing it, then it won’t have the impact it needs. MyTwoCensus urges the Census Bureau to release the analytics data detailing the number of unique users per day on its new web site, particularly as it compares to the analytics data of the old web site. We hope to see the numbers of viewers for each individual page of the web site as well. This is the only way that MyTwoCensus and other watchdog/non-profit organizations will be able to accurately track the success of the redesign. Additionally, if the Census Bureau’s site redesign becomes a statistical success, then perhaps other government agencies will follow suit by improving their interactivity and transparency, which will be a great step forward for American society.
It should be noted that the redesign of 2010.Census.gov was a combined effort of the Census Bureau with private sector advertising firm Draftfcb.