Tag Archives: Obama

Case Study 10: Wordle

18 Apr

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Wordle is an excellent tool. It is probably my favorite, so far. I love the idea of putting in a passage or piece of writing and having this system show you the most mentioned words in the piece of writing in such a visual way. The most common words are often larger, repeated and sometimes bold. This tool summarizes a piece of writing in the way a graph summarizes data. It makes themes easily understood in a  visual way. It can help highlight themes and underlying messages that may not be obvious when you first read or glance at the piece.

I used Wordle to examine President Barak Obama’s State of the Union Addresses from 2010, 2011 and 2012.


Common themes and words in the 2010 State of the Union Address were: Now, economy, business, people, American, jobs, work and government. This was his first time addressing the nation as president unless you count his speech in 2009.



Common themes and words in his speech in his second year were: New, people, years, work, American, world, country, future and spending.


His common themes and words in 2012 were: Right, time, Americans, jobs, one, people, economy, energy, tax and congress.

By looking at these three speeches, we can see that his addresses to the nation have had a consistent theme. He has focused on addressing the American people about the future, the economy, jobs and spending. Becoming bigger each year was the mention of energy and jobs.

Tools like Wordle can help journalists spot changes in focus, emphasis and importance in certain aspects and areas by looking at the words used. The tool is also neat because you can choose colors, fonts and different ways to present your Wordle cloud.

This is something you could easily spend a lot of time playing around with and more importantly, analyzing.


13 Mar

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Analysis of tool: This tool is very interesting. I like how it highlights keywords and names. On the side it gives a breakdown of the items highlighted, and if you click on the link, it takes you to more detailed information. It is interactive in that you can hover the mouse over a pie graph and it gives even more information than what is simply on the page. For example, hovering over a pie graph may not only reveal percentages but also, more specifically, dollar amounts.  It is interesting to think of who is giving to whom as far as contributions are concerned. This impacts how contributors and influential organizations present information, and knowing this information can help the readers take the information with the skepticism they need to achieve a “mental balance” of the information, so they can form their own opinion.

Link:  http://poligraft.com/GH4c

The article I submitted through Poligraft was from Washington D.C. It is about the “shift” of emphasis for the GOP campaigning in the South. Key points are that Mitt Romney, 458, has double the delegates of that of Rick Santorum, 203. To secure a nomination against Barak Obama, the GOP candidate needs 1,144 delegates. The piece also mentions that southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy will be campaigning for Romney.

Newt Gingrich, who currently has 66 delegates, is hoping to win Alabama and Mississippi.

According to CNN: “An American Research Group survey last week of likely Republican primary voters in Mississippi showed Gingrich with 35 percent support to 31 percent for Romney, 20 percent for Santorum and 7 percent for Paul. The poll’s four percentage-point sampling error meant Gingrich and Romney were in a statistical tie.”

The Poligraft report was interesting in that it showed what certain groups who contributed to the article have donated to PACs. For example,  according to Poligraft, NBC Universal donated $5,500 to the Rick Santorum campaign. CBS Corp. donated $83,344 to Barak Obama’s campaign. Through this list of information we can see the political leanings of the quoted sources and have a more in-depth look at why they asked certain questions or gave certain quotes.

For example, Gingrich sounds less sure about his Alabama-Mississippi victory on CBS than he did on Fox. CBS Corp., as stated above, was a major donator to the Obama campaign and it aggregated $501 to Ron Paul’s campaign. If you click on the link, it shows the top recipients for CBS Corp. and those lobbying on the company’s behalf.

Poligraft also gives “Points of Influence,” and it shows the party of the candidates that received what percent of contributions. Through this, the reader can see that Obama receives more contributions from individuals, while Gingrich receives a quarter of his contributions from PACs. Also, one can see what the types of people are the ones that most frequently contribute to certain campaigns. For Obama it’s lawyers and lobbyists, for Paul it’s people involved in finance, business and real estate.

Poligraft is a tool that helps reveal underlying influences in articles and news. In the end, it serves to prove what we already know: What is truly objective?