When Did Press Coverage of PR Explode? The New York Times ‘Chronicle’ Has Your Answer


Two years ago, we first saw this report from the prestigious Nieman Journalism Lab about Chronicle, the latest digital toy from The New York Times:

“Chronicle is a database of articles and story tags from the past 31 years of Times content. The tool makes it possible to see the frequency of use of certain words — but also what people, organizations, or locations are most related to keywords.”

Today, it’s a Web-based application that traces back to the very origins of printing the news, and a divine way for the publishing giant to make some cash on the concept since that paywall thing was such a bad idea.

Logophiles: Suit up! 

Chronicle is a great way to pass the time when you are done stalking your exes on Facebook. This interactive clearinghouse allows you to enter terms into one of the most hallowed halls of journalism just to see which ones score the highest and have been reported most often.

For instance: interested in presidential news? You are going to be shocked to learn which commander-in-chief has been discussed most often to date:

pres twitter

Would you believe Jimmy Carter? And who knows about a ‘Carter’ during the Civil War. Maybe it was Samuel P. Carter or Joseph Carter Abbott, both notable names during the antebellum days and during the whole North V. South thing.

As many in journalism and public relations would think, The New York Times is a good litmus test about what has been newsworthy throughout the years. However, this fancy-shmancy tool could help us all examine trends as well. Speaking of the Old Grey Lady and trends, what about something former (and exiled) editor Jill Abramson has probably considered?

men women

Funny how those two terms of Men and Women are both no longer as important to note in articles, but have also become equal in the news. See? Chin up Jill. Your cronies aren’t as sexist as you thought (allegedly).

What about Marriage and Sex? That’s always a conversation set to get the blood flowing.

marriage sex

Here’s why this website is going to be a favorite of news sleuths and bloggers alike.

Marriage has always been the foundation of America, as you can see at the turn of the 20th Century right up to “Leave It to Beaver” time in the 50s and 60s. And then, hippies showed up at Woodstock and look at sex skyrocket in the news! These days, it’s all we talk about it but just the same because of gender equality. Very telling.

How about something everyone is discussing these days: War and Peace.

war peace

If you know your history, you can pretty much see World Wars I and II there, with Vietnam and the Gulf Wars keeping the volume turned up consistently thereafter. Peace tries to score headlines, but you know the mantra: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

And there’s your proof.

While that’s a blog topic unto itself, let’s bring it closer to home: Journalism and PR.

journalism PR

Of course, The New York Times discussed journalism in its inception to now. It has been consistent too, and then in the 40s, something caused a minor disruption in all that coverage causing PR to get an uptick in awareness…it was Edward Bernays, the progenitor of all we do.

And the rest is history, with one exception–check out the coverage now. It’s nearly identical! Maybe there is a meeting of the minds after all: hacks are becoming flacks and the former have grown more respectful toward the latter. It’s time to sing ‘Kumbaya’ or something with a more chipper beat.

Join me?