Thursday, March 31, 2011

Case Study 12: Wordled Speeches

When I first visited Wordle, I just thought it was a tool that created cool-looking collages. But then I read further and learned that “the clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.” I think this could be an incredibly valuable tool for journalists.
    It can show what people, politicians and leaders deem most important, what issues are most prominent in the world. For example, the Inaugural Speeches link reveals how the tool can be used to compare the inaugural speeches of various presidents. By examining which words are most prominent, the reader can easily see what is most important to the leaders of their country. The New York Times does this to compare a speech by Obama with one by Bush, both on the economy. The Times concludes: “The objectives of the two speeches are of course different. Mr. Bush’s speech was intended to explain and calm anxieties, whereas Mr. Obama’s speech was intended to make the case for significant, permanent policy changes (which perhaps explains Mr. Obama’s relatively greater willingness to use terms like “crisis” and “failure”).”

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