Case Study 10

18 Apr


Barack Obama’s States of the Union – his 2010 address, his 2011 address and his 2012 address – have several similarities. Wordle reveals various repeated words that give us insight into the issues that the president felt the United States was facing in each year.

The ’10 speech and the ’12 speech have much more in common with each other than they do with the ’11 speech. Both emphasize words like “jobs” and “businesses.” This reflects a focus on the economy.

The ’11 speech, however, is markedly different. Obama’s speech that year outlined advances he wanted made in education; words like “science”, “technology” and “industry” are emphasized.

The three speeches also share words like “Congress”, “Americans” and “people”, making it clear to whom they were addressed.

Wordle could be used by a journalist looking to make sense of a speech or large document. However, much like Google Correlate, it would be most helpful if the journalist was already familiar with the context of the media.


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