presented at special workshops or sessions at the annual meetings of many key groups that are already part of the census network as listed above.

Working with the Media

ACS training and education should be adapted to the needs of media organizations. The media need to become a partner in explaining why the ACS is important and how the data can best be used. The media should welcome this partnership, since more frequently updated information will give them opportunities for many new stories over the decade on such topics as immigration, domestic migration, education patterns, and other topics of public concern.

The need for an active media education and partnership program is evident from the press coverage of the August 15, 2006, release of 2005 ACS data for political and statistical areas with 65,000 or more total population. This initial release provided information on age, sex, race, ethnicity, ancestry, place of birth, citizenship, year of immigration, residence last year, language spoken at home, education, disability, marital status, fertility, veteran status, and whether grandparents are caring for grandchildren in their home. A review by panel staff of 57 articles in 44 newspapers around the country published August 15-16, 2006, that used the new ACS data found that interest in the data was high but understanding of them and how to use them was often poor. The ACS was sometimes confused with other programs, such as the census and the population estimates, and understanding of how to compare the 2005 data with the 2000 long-form sample and other sources was limited (see Box 7-1).

The Census Bureau should conduct extensive analyses of news coverage of the 2005 ACS and revise and enhance its user education program and documentation accordingly, not only for the media, but also for other data users. As a top priority, guidance about comparisons of estimates from the 2005 data with the 2000 long-form sample and other sources (including the population estimates program) is clearly needed. Indeed, guidance on comparisons with the 2000 long-form sample will continue to be critical because the ACS cannot itself serve as a comparison source for estimates of change, particularly for small areas, until more years of data are released and analyzed.

Recommendations on User Education, Outreach, and Feedback

As with any major initiative, creating an education and outreach system to accompany the ACS will involve a significant commitment of resources from the Census Bureau and its affiliates, and from the user community as well. The ACS represents a substantial increase in the volume of informa-

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