My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘Raul Cisneros’

The Suitland Files: Inside The Census Bureau (Part 2)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I apologize for taking so long to post the second half of the series that I started nearly two weeks ago, but I’ve been traveling extensively and things were getting quite hectic. Without further ado, I present to you an inside look into my meeting with top communications/public relations/press officials at the Census Bureau’s HQ in Washington, DC:

After making idle chit-chat about Europe, climate change, and Dr. Groves’ travel habits (like any good reporter, I try to extract information wherever possible) for more than half an hour with two private security guards inside their security booth on the perimeter of the Census Bureau’s fenced off headquarters (they refused to let me sit on a bench outside even though it was a warm day…), I was greeted by Derick Moore (who Steve Jost authorizes to make the official Census Bureau comments on MyTwoCensus posts) and Eun Kim, a new Census Bureau PR official who until very recently was a DC reporter for Gannett (hmmm…I wonder why she jumped over to the dark side…).

After clearing a round of metal detectors, I made my way up the elevator with my two aforementioned handlers. I was led to a waiting room where I made some chit chat with Derick and Eun who each told me about their careers in private sector media. (I pray every day that the allure of a solid government salary with good benefits doesn’t one day catch up with me too…) Steve Jost, chowing down on a sandwich and french fries, returned and had us follow him into his office. We all sat down, with me at the head of the table. With white hair and a bit of scruff on his face, Jost wasn’t the devilish and egotistical Nazi I expected he might be, but rather a jovial guy who immediately poked fun at my comments about him on this site. I replied that I made those comments when I was thousands of miles away in the safety of my own home, and I had never expected to be sitting down with him in person. But I had no regrets. My job is to be a watchdog, and a vigilant watchdog I will be.

Last to arrive at our meeting was Stephen Buckner, the mouthpiece of the 2010 Census (spokesman) who had the boyish charm of a high school quarterback. I’m sure that fifteen years ago he easily cruised his way to a victory during elections for homecoming king.

Jost was the leader of this round-table, so between french fries he started firing off all of the positive accomplishments that he and his team have made, while clearly avoiding any of the shortcomings. Here’s a rundown of the most interesting things that he said:

1. High unemployment rates and homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure will cause problems with the 2010 Census.

2. The hardest group to count is “young, unattached people” who move frequently, only have cell phones, are between jobs or studies, etc. — NOT immigrants or minorities, as one might expect from all of the Census Bureau’s hard-to-count group advertising…(MyTwoCensus will investigate this further in the near future!)

3. The Census Bureau has created a series of ads using pop music…get ready to find these on your TV screens starting in early January.

4. The participation rate in the Census increased for the first time since 1970 in 2000, despite general trends that fewer and fewer people are involved in civic activities like voting, performing jury duty, etc. Hopefully they can once again reverse this trend in 2010.

5. 95% of media consumers will be reached multiple times by 2010 Census advertising campaigns.

6. 53% of 2010 Census advertising is local. 47% is national. (Note: MyTwoCensus has not heard back yet as to whether our proposal to let the Census Bureau advertise for the 2010 Census on this site was accepted…)

7. Spoiler Alert: Sesame Street will be featuring a 2010 Census storyline via The Count and Rosita characters.

8. 2010.Census.gov was redesigned.

9. Though 173 forms of social media have been integrated with Census Bureau awareness efforts, no I-Phone Application has been created for the 2010 Census.

10. The 2010 Census forms will be mailed to all households in America (hopefully) on March 17, 2010. (Let’s hope drunken St. Patty’s day revelers don’t interfere with the efforts of the U.S. Postal Service…)

11. When selecting advertisements for the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau asks the creative directors of 12 different advertising firms to submit proposals via a “creative rumble.”

12. Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of the 2000 Advance Letter Debacle in 2010…

13. There will be extra Census Bureau staff in New Orleans to personally hand deliver 2010 Census questionnaires to every household.

14. The address canvassing portion of the 2010 Census provided data that there are approximately 134 million individual housing units in the US, down from original estimates of 140 million.

15. Many addresses in places like Las Vegas where construction on homes was started but never finished have been deleted from the 2010 Census rolls.

16. Very, very, very few people hired to work for the Census Bureau as temporary workers have quit during the 2009-2010 cycle, as other jobs are extremely scarce.

17. On November 17 at 9:30am, Dr. Robert M. Groves will be holding his next monthly “State of the 2010 Census” address…

I was given some handouts (drawings of a 2010 Census logo on a NASCAR racecar that will be unveiled soon), portions of powerpoints (that showed me data about levels of Census participation), and had the opportunity to see one of the hip-hop music based commercials that was recently shot in LA and will soon be airing nationwide. It was a smooth operation, and my questions were answered well. Were the answers necessarily honest? No. But did the PR team effectively do their jobs to give give off the image of squeaky clean 2010 Census communications operations? Absolutely.

Census Bureau Press Release: Independent Panel Commends the 2010 Census Paid Media Plan

Monday, September 21st, 2009

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that an independent
panel of five distinguished marketing and communications scholars
unanimously agreed that both industry and academic best practices were used
to develop the paid media portion of the 2010 Census Integrated
Communications Campaign.

“My overall assessment is that the processes to develop the 2010 Census
Integrated Communications Campaign are fundamentally sound,” said Academic
Assessment Panel Chair Dr. Jerome D. Williams, the F.J. Heyne Centennial
Professor in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. “I feel
the Census Bureau and the DraftFCB team have done an exceptional job and
are to be applauded for what has been developed so far under very
challenging conditions.”

The Census Bureau formed the Academic Assessment Panel in April 2009 to
evaluate the methods used to define and develop the communications
campaign.

This was the first time the Census Bureau has commissioned an objective
panel to review the communications campaign’s work prior to the conclusion
of the decennial census. It is yet one more additional element in a very
extensive external review process by the Bureau, which includes the
Congress, formal advisory committees, stakeholder groups, representatives
of the Census Regional offices, and the Department of Commerce. Obtaining
recommendations from a panel of academic experts at this early juncture
allowed the Census Bureau sufficient time to employ their recommendations
before the media implementation plans were finalized.

“The Academic Assessment Panel’s recommendations have enhanced the 2010
Census Communications Campaign,” said Raul E. Cisneros, the Census Bureau’s
2010 Census Publicity Office Chief. “Their completely independent and
objective review allowed us to look at the work done to date on the
campaign with fresh eyes and make improvements and refinements where
needed,” Cisneros said.

“The Census Bureau must count everyone in this country once, only once,
and in the right place, and a robust and effective communications campaign
is vital to help us reach that goal. We are grateful for the very serious
and intensive work the panel undertook in a short time frame,” added
Cisneros.

The 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign is comprised of paid
advertising, public relations, partnerships, online interaction and a
Census in Schools program that have been designed and guided at every step
of the process by detailed research. Each of these components will be
crucial to increasing the public’s awareness of the 2010 Census and
motivating participation in the decennial enumeration.

Congrats, The Census Bureau Wins This Year’s BS Awards!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Today, the Census Bureau released the following press release about how it won an armload of the least prestigious awards ever received, which are called Tellys. Calls to multiple New York-based ad/marketing executives were met with words like “never heard of them” and “I don’t even think they’re real.” Jim Edwards, a former managing editor of AdWeek, said, “The Tellys are not a high-profile award by any means. They recognize one of the more humble niches of the advertising world, and that means that most people in the business have never heard of them.” Here’s the latest episode that relates to the Draftfcb PR farce from Suitland:

WASHINGTON, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A series of 2010 Census promotional videos have won several prestigious Telly Awards as well as a Videographer Award of Excellence — awards that honor the best in video production.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090226/CENSUSLOGO)

The videos were produced by the Public Information Office at the U.S. Census Bureau as part of a collaborative effort between headquarters, regional and contracting staff. They were submitted for consideration by contractors Therese Allen and Corey Petree.

The four- to seven-minute videos, titled “A New Portrait of America,” were produced to reach different segments of the population including the general, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, and Puerto Rican audiences.

In the nonbroadcast productions category, the videos received silver Tellys for use of music and editing, and a bronze Telly was awarded for government relations. In the Internet/online video category, a silver Telly was awarded for music and a bronze Telly was awarded for editing.

The videos also received the 2009 Videographer Award of Excellence in the government/federal and creativity/video/original music categories.

The “New Portrait of America” videos include diverse images from throughout the country as well as interviews with community leaders. They are used at activities and events to promote the 2010 Census and encourage everyone’s participation in next year’s national count.

The “New Portrait of America” videos may be viewed at the following link: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/multimedia/videos/013879.html.

The real humor in this is that after looking into the “Telly Awards,” it  looks like there are hundreds upon hundreds thousands upon thousands of winners in each category. It seems like the creators of the Telly Awards just want an outlet for ad agencies to impress their clients by paying entry fees to become recipients of this everyone’s-a-winner competition.

Jost: Cisneros Is My Chief Publicity (Read: Oversight) Flack

Friday, July 17th, 2009

MyTwoCensus obtained the following internal Census Bureau document…Look who will be responsible for the oversight of the $200 million contract with DraftFCB, a fellow PR flack rather than an ACCOUNTANT or someone with OVERSIGHT EXPERIENCE:

FROM THE DESK OF STEVE JOST
Associate Director for Communications

I am pleased to announce the selection of Raul E. Cisneros as Chief of the
Census 2010 Publicity Office, effective July 19,2009.  In this role he will
be responsible for the management of the 2010 Integrated Communications
Campaign and the oversight of the multimillion dollar contract with
Draftfcb.
Prior to this position Raul served as Chief of the 2010 Census
Media Relations Branch in the Public Information Office where he was in
charge of public affairs and media relations activities for the 2010
Census.

Raul has extensive and wide ranging public relations experience and has
worked with public and private sector stakeholders nationally and the state
and local levels.  Before coming to the Census Bureau, Raul served in a
number of capacities at the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2001 to
2008.  He was director of communications and responsible for press,
marketing, audiovisual services, Web design and internal communications.
He was also associate administrator for field operations, deputy chief of
staff and acting district director for Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition to his federal service, Raul has also worked for the state of
California as an environmental engineer, assistant state treasurer and
communications specialist for the California State Senate.  Raul has been a
public relations consultant and commentator for print, radio and
television.  He also has private sector experience as an engineer and
supervisor working for the Campbell Soup Company.

Born and raised in the Republic of Panama, Raul earned his Bachelor of
Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.  He lives in
Laurel, Md., with his wife, Anita, and 15-year-old daughter.  He is active
in the community and serves as a board member for the Anne Arundel
Partnership for Children, Youth and Families.