In word-cloud cuckoo land
It being the day before the election, I thought it would be fun to take a few of the national newspapers’ election editorial leaders and turn them into word clouds. For the uninitiated, word clouds are those visual representations of tags, categories or other key words which you often find on blogs, and which the revamped Independent has suddenly discovered. Basically, the more prominence a word has, the greater its cloud representation.
Some of the results were pretty surprising.
The Grauniad nails its colours to the Lib Dem mast. That it no doubts feels it has a lot of explaining to do to its hardcore readers might explain why “Labour” gets a bigger word count score than “Liberal Democrats”. “Electoral reform” gets a look-in, but the economy, immigration, the EU and that other great Guardian fetish, global warming, don’t get a look-in.
On the back of the Greek financial crisis, the Times takes a fiscally-minded look at the election. Not surprisingly, words like “economy’, “bank”, “spending” and “Britain” loom large, but given that the Thunderer is backing the Tories, it’s a wee surprise that “Labour” looms larger than “Conservative” or “Tories”. “Darling”gets a look-in, too, but shadow chancellor Osborne remains in the, er, shadows.
Considering the Observer is coming out in support of the Lib Dems, there’s an awful lot of “Cameron”, “Labour” and “Conservatives” in here. Reputed man of the hour Clegg hardly gets a look-in. Note the high prevalence of the Cameron buzz-word du jour, “change”.
The Mirror’s noticed there’s an election on, and it obviously wants to alert you to the fact, too. It’s supporting Labour. So that’s why it mentions “David Cameron” and “Conservatives” more than “Gordon Brown”. Indeed, “sack” appears more than “Gordon Brown”. What is the Mirror trying to say here?
Riding the “Cleggmania” surge the media keeps telling us about (but no one down the pub seems to have noticed), the Indy is backing the Lib Dems, but the only giveaway is the high recurrence of “reform” (as in electoral). Otherwise, the Tories and Labour loom large – as does “system” (but then that’s the Indy for you).
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Mail is supporting the Tories. But given that the paper is never happier than when it’s in attack mode, it’s probably no surprise that Labour and Brown figure more prominently than Conservative and David. I’ll have to go back to the original article to confirm that “hung” refers to the possible outcome of the election, rather than “Clegg” or “Blair”.
Note: I tried to grab a Sun leader to give it the word-cloud treatment, but its website is like a three-year-old hyperactive boy with ADD who’s overdosed on Sunny Delight. After about 10 minutes of trying to navigate through all its flashing bells and whistles and interminable page reloads I gave up. But I think we can guess what words figure prominently in any one of its election leaders.