How news media covered the 2008 presidential inauguration


By now you’ve probably already seen CNN’s mind-numbingly detailed photograph created from thousands of user-submitted photos and blended using Photosynth technology. But have you seen the following interactive image created by photographer David Bergman?

Bergman created the high-resolution image by combining over 200 images using Gigapan’s stitching software (more on Gigapan here). The Associated Press also has an interactive, high-res image for users to play around with.

Leave it to the New York Times to take an already incredible technology one step further. In its interactive inauguration photo, users can click a name or hover over a person in the photo to identify who they are. The usual suspects, including senators and dignitaries, can be easily spotted.

The Washington Post takes a different approach by composing a mosaic created from thousands of photos shot by citizen journalists and staff photographers from both the Post and the Associated Press.

Sometimes a good photo is just a photo, no interactive whizbang required. The Big Picture has a great collection of inauguration day photos, including the now instantly recognizable satellite photo of crowds gathered to hear Barack Obama’s inauguration speech (Click here for an explanation of how the estimated 1 million people in attendance were counted).

Speech/Word Analysis

After the inauguration, 50 million word clouds emerged, most created using Wordle, that analyzed Barack Obama’s now historic speech. Once again, the New York Times took the word analysis concept to another level with “Inaugural Words: 1789 to the Present,” a historical analysis of commonly recurring words used in presidential speeches, beginning with George Washington.

The real innovation, however, came from sites like ManyEyes, which visualized the speech as an interactive word tree, and Delve Networks which applied its audio search technology to extract not only the words that were spoken, but where they can be found in the address. Give the technology a spin by searching the video below for words like “America” or “hope.”

Citizen Journalism

The Washington Post made use of its TimeSpace technology (previously covered here) to create a mapped record of inauguration photos and video. TimeSpace: Inauguration allows anyone to search through the geotagged coverage in a multi-layered interactive environment.

Twitter was a hotbed of exchanges about the excitement surrounding the inauguration and no one knows this better than FlowingData. To visualize the Twitter buzz surrounding the event, the site tracked positive responses to the inauguration all over the world in what, as it progresses, looks like fireworks. (Click image to view project)

To make sure now President Obama sticks to his more than 500 campaign promises, PolitiFact will be keeping tabs on his administration with the Obameter, a digital counter that lists each and every one and whether it has been fulfilled or not. So far Obama has kept seven and 14 more are still in the works.

And finally, proof that print ain’t dead (yet). Click the image below to view the hundreds of newspapers around the world on which the inauguration of President Obama is front page news.

Also on 10,000 Words:

15 Ways to follow the 2008 election online

Essential resources for panoramic photography

7 Eye-popping interactive timelines (and 3 ways to create one)

Word cloud analysis of 2008 DNC Speeches