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Tuesday, September 18 • 2:20pm - 3:10pm
Breathing Life into Data: A Journalistic Approach to Indicators

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The Boulder County TRENDS Report is the Community Foundation Boulder County’s flagship resource. Since 1996, TRENDS has informed and engaged Boulder County, Colorado’s residents on the issues most important to them. 

Recent editions of the biennial report have incorporated a more journalistic approach. Now, the report is produced by a team that includes former journalists. They start by updating 150 indicators of their region’s social, economic and environmental health. They then analyze the data, looking for what’s new and persistent. Then, they venture into the community to find and interview the people living at the center of the struggles that the indicators point to. 

The result is a 90-page glossy magazine rich with photos and stories of people who possess the hard-earned wisdom you can only get from living through tough times. Their stories breathe life into the data, and help the Community Foundation arrive at the recommendations they provide across seven chapters about how readers can help.

A newly overhauled website, www.commfound.org/trends, offers all the content contained in the magazine, plus a searchable database of indicators with discussion on what each trends means for the community.

Chris Barge, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Community, edits the report and presents highlights from it at presentations to nonprofit boards, elected officials, civic groups and congregations on a weekly basis. The new approach has heightened its accessibility and fostered rich community conversations about what various groups are doing to improve the community.

In this presentation, Barge, a former reporter for the Denver Rocky Mountain News, will lay out the editorial process and make the case for a more journalistic approach to both reporting and presenting community indicators projects. In the age of Big Data, now, more than ever, we need stories that connect us to each other and help us find our way.


Chris Barge

VP of Strategic Initiatives, Community Foundation Boulder County
Chris Barge helps The Community Foundation enhance its impact on Boulder County's greatest needs through community based initiatives. His current projects include spinning off a Latino parent engagement program into an independent nonprofit as well as directing our biennial Trends... Read More →

Tuesday September 18, 2018 2:20pm - 3:10pm CDT
Minnesota Room
  ENGAGE, Cross-cutting
  • Presentation Format TALK (one of two talks in a 50 min. session)