Advice on the CD beat memo

October 1st, 2008 by Jack Styczynski

I’ve been getting the same questions from several of you about where to find religious and voter breakdowns by CD.  Most of you seem to be having no trouble finding the information by county, which I assume you’re locating via the resources listed on my blog post of September 20th.  That’s good.

Anyway, the short answer is, I don’t think there is a place where you can find the information you’re seeking online, so you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.   Calls to the board of elections or maybe even the Community Boards may shed some light on where you can get the voter info.  I would think someone is keeping track of it at the CD level…you’re just going to have to go beyond the computer.  You might want to split up the task of making calls among classmates and sharing what you learn, rather than everybody flooding the state and local boards of elections with calls asking the same question.  Regarding the religious info, I have a feeling you may not find that at all.  I know I mentioned this in Tim’s class, if not Steve’s.  The latest county info on Social Explorer isn’t even that recent (2000), and it’s not compiled by a government entity that would likely have any interest in breaking it down by CD.  However, you might try contacting the organizations that do the compilations (listed on Social Explorer) to see if they can provide any help.  But again, I’d recommend designating a class rep. 

The bottom line is, sometimes you just have to contact people.  That’s why “people finding” was the first research lesson of this course.

As you continue working on your CD beat memo, also know that your research grade will be based primarily on your sourcing of answers.  I’m especially concerned with your displaying a command of the resources that have been reviewed in class, listed on the handouts and posted on the blog.  As such, I’m expecting either direct links to your answers or a detailed description of how you found them.  A general citation such as “ReferenceUSA,” “Nexis,” or “nyc.gov” is NOT acceptable, regardless of whether or not your answer is correct.  Detailed sourcing takes priority.  Bonus points for solid sourcing not taught in class or noted on handouts or the blog.  You’re always welcome to teach me something (such as where to find religious and voter info by CD online, if it exists, for example).  Aim to impress.

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