The Atlantic bar graph

Image courtesy of The Atlantic

News articles often contain a lot of information that needs to be generalized for the sake of space. One way around this is by using charts and graphs to represent the data. But ensuring your charts are both visually engaging and easy to understand is no simple task. A recent bar chart by The Atlantic shows how many times different U.S. Presidents used certain words in their State of the Union addresses. So what, you ask? It offers a simple and accessible look at the rhetorical messages present in one of the most important and newsworthy speeches a U.S. President can make. 

The language used in these speeches coincides with what’s going on in the world, as well as the President’s key focus at a very specific moment in time. “The Language of the State of the Union” graphic allows users to choose among 24 words and sort by date or density. Then, the bars adjust to represent how many times the word was used by each president. Some words have wide coverage over the years, but others–such as “France”–show spikes that indicate how different some administrations are from others, as well as when certain topics were more relevant to social contexts and interests. From its clean, attractive presentation, to the vast amount of information packaged in one small space, this bar chart is a great example of the power of visual storytelling.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 7:52 pm and is filed under DATA VISUALIZATION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.