Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wordled Speeches

I think Wordle would be a good tool for making sense of political speeches. Often times, they are filled with jargon and can be difficult to understand if you’re working quickly on deadline. A Wordle of a speech would give a basic outline of some of the main points. Such a visual representation would make the politician’s ideas and thoughts clearer to readers.

Wordle would also be helpful to compare different speeches by the same politician, especially during an election cycle. A series of Wordled speeches by a particular politician would track the issues they’re covering and provide insight to how they may or may not adjust their campaigns during an election cycle.

Along those same lines, a journalist could use Wordled speeches to compare the rhetoric of various politicians from different parties and to compare how different parties members may react to the same event. The New York Times link shows something similar to this. I think the reporter in this case used the Wordled speeches very effectively. Rather than just showing two images and expecting readers to understand what they mean, the reporter gives an explanation of how and why the two images are different. Catherine Rampell writes, “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”).” She wraps up the article nicely by trying to include reader comments.

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