The State of the Union – Infographics

When comparing different infographics regarding ‘State of the Union’ speeches from past American Presidents, it is simple to understand what data the publishers are trying to demonstrate.

The first infographic that I looked at was Vox’s 2016 chart on how the words used by Barack Obama in his speeches changed throughout eight years. The infographic is interesting to look at because the publisher has demonstrated their findings through bubble shapes that increase or decrease in size, depending on how often he used that word that year. For instance, from 2012-2013 we can immediately identify that Obama spoke about ‘jobs’ more than in past or future speeches; regardless of whether it was in a positive or negative way.

The second infographic that I looked at was one published in 2019 by the Washington Post, and it is centered around words used in President Trump’s speeches that have never been featured before, however it continues to do the same for all Presidents dating back to Bill Clinton. The infographic is slicker than those featured on the Vox website because the data collection was published on a broadsheet newspapers website. It approaches the data differently to the other infographics that I looked at because it is in simply black and white text, and no images were used.

The final infographic that I looked at was also published on Vox, and was about Barack Obama potentially being one of the ‘wordiest’ presidents in American history. This information was displayed through a bar chart infographic, and was done so as it is one of the simplest ways data can be interpreted. In contrast to the Washington Post infographic, data collections published by Vox are more interesting visually because it isn’t a broadsheet newspapers website. However, the publisher showed no bias in Barack Obama’s favour – this is demonstrated through the difference in Jimmy Carter’s thirty-five-thousand word written opus the day he left the White House. So just because Barack Obama was one of the Presidents whose speeches went on for the longest, it did not mean he was the overall most ‘wordy’.