Obama wordcloud image

Hello from Washington DC, where I’ve been directing our coverage for Channel 4 News and ITV news on Barack Obama’s inauguration day. I was working for most of the time on the roof of the Canadian Embassy, overlooking the Capitol building while the new president was being sworn in.

It was cold, sitting directing for 3 hours at -11C, it took most of the rest of the day to thaw out, but the superb view was great compensation.

Before I came out I (almost) finished off a word / snowcloud generator for Channel 4 News, it’s probably the bit of Flash programming I’m most pleased with, at the moment. Have a play, it indexes the most-used words back into the full text of Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, and lets you watch the video at the same time. I’ll be working on improving the look and feel when I get back to the UK…

4 Responses to “Snowclouds in Washington DC”
  1. James says:

    Wow those are amazing! Much more interesting than a straightforward Wordle.

    Is there any way that the average person could use/licence this to create similar interactive wordclouds from text?

  2. James – thanks for the kind comments. I’m looking at ways of making this available as a service – there are a few variables that have to be tweaked in XML for each wordcloud depending on what the average word lengths and frequencies are, if I can automate these I might be able to open it up. The video integration is more complex, I’m not sure I could make that work as a general purpose service.

  3. Heather says:

    Martin, that really is wonderful. I just sampled your snowcloud for the Alistair Darling speech and tracked back to here. Do you by any chance have clouds for the other Obama speeches, especially the UN speeches? Video is not necessary, but this is just a wonderful tool! I would love to see a “snowclouds” page dedicated to whatever clouds you have generated of whatever speeches caught your interest for analysis.

  4. Hi Heather,

    many thanks for your kind comments. There is a page here on the Channel 4 News website that lists all of the SnowClouds we’ve done, there are some other inauguration addresses here, but no other Obama speeches I’m afraid. I’d like to make the tool more interactive so you would be able to make your own clouds – if I can find some time to do it I’ll let you know.

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