Check out Census Reporter a great site created from the Knight News Challenge to help journalists use data from the U.S. Census. It gives you ways to search and compare data categories and geographical areas. Best of all, it easily converts the findings into eye-friendly charts and graphics. See what happened when I searched for info on my area — Humboldt County, California. This is just a small piece of what I got back:
By now, your college or university knows who it admitted and who it rejected. Get the data on that — how many, what geographies they came from, what ethnicities and genders they represent. It is probably on the university website. If not, request it through a state public records act request. Then compare that against your local census data and data from across the state by looking it up on the U.S.Census American Factfinder site.
If you can find a wide discrepancy between your state demographics and the university’s demographics this could be the basis for a good story for your back to school issue in the fall.