Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Visualization of Newspaper Content

I made a quick visualization of what the people of Canada are saying about the current coalition that seems imminent in Canadian federal politics. The visualization is made with Wordle, which is a snap to use.

The first is the frequency of word use amongst commenters to the article: "Tories launch anti-coalition ad blitz." This article was printed in the left leaning "Toronto Star" on December 2, 2008. There were 264 comments in total.

This second one is the word frequency of commenters on the National Post article, "Dion mortgages federalist ideals to sign on with separatists." The National Post tends to lean to the right on political issues. There were 64 comments to this article.

Both articles essentially say the same thing, but with opposite perspectives on what makes good politics.

It's interesting to note the slight differences in the two. In the first article, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the clear focus, whereas his name is noticeably smaller in the pro-Harper National Post article.

Likewise, "Quebec" is fairly prominent in the National Post article, which suggests commenters frequently pointed to the fact that this Liberal led coalition will involve the separatist party, the Bloc Quebecois. To the right, this is akin to a deal with the devil. In The Star, "Quebec" is barely visible - you can squint to see it next to "People."

There are plenty of other assumptions you could make about the contents of these comments and the worries of both sides based on the visualizations, some of which might even be true. And, I know it's not really history, but one day it will be.


Sarah Waugh said...

Very interesting, Adam, and a nice example of how this kind of data can be visualized.

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