Sunday, February 10, 2013

Visualizations To Teach The State Of The Union

Source: The Why Axis
On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, President Barack Obama will deliver the State Of The Union address to Congress. In the modern era, the speech typically includes an optimistic outlook on opportunities for the coming year, as well as a laundry list of proposed legislation and a salute to featured guests in the visitors' balcony. This year, President Obama is expected to make a push for new gun and climate change regulations.

One of the best ways to watch the State Of The Union address in real-time and the next day with students is via the official White House enhanced streaming feed. This online-only broadcast will pair the television shots with supporting data, graphs, and charts to create a more visual and enriching experience. The video below explains the possibilities for this viewing platform that has been employed since 2011:

The White House has also set up a social media soiree, where subscribers can share ideas via interconnected platforms. Even the casual observer can follow the Twitter hashtag #SOTU for relevant information.

Another terrific way to explore the language and history of past addresses is through the "State Of The Union" visual interface by Brad Borevitz. This data-rich site compares the frequency of word usage in all addresses from 1790 - 2012. Visitors can click on words to see statistics about their usage and can manipulate a scrolling timeline to see patterns evolve over time. A related feature, the SOTU graph, can also generate line charts to display graphically the comparison in themes. You can sign up early online to receive a notification when Tuesday's speech is added to the database.

For more information about visualizations in past State Of The Union addresses, check out "Infographics For America: Displaying Data In The State Of The Union" from The Why Axis, and "2011 State Of The Union Visualizations: Charts, Graphs And Infographics" from Fast Fedora.

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