This cool new tool graphs what words the paper’s been talking about since 1851.
The New York Times just launched a cool data tool called Chronicle that graphs mentions of words and phrases over time. It’s a fascinating look at what the paper and the country cared about since 1851. Try it out! It’s awesome.
Here’s a few we checked out:
1875 was apparently a banner year for cat news. Today, dogs rule.
You know what was cool in 1900? A million dollars. You know what was cool in 2000? A bilion dollars. You know what was cool in 2010? This joke.
I suspect the early popularity of “kale” may be because it used to be a man’s name.
As Megadeth said, “Peace sells, but who’s buying?”
Contrary to what it feels like, the Times has gotten LESS obsessed with Brooklyn. Brooklyn mentions peaked around 1894 – the year the borough officially joined New York City.
Some early “boomers” talk probably related to various financial booms. The modern baby boomers are still more talked about than their kids.
1980s: “Die yuppie scum.” 2000s: “Die hipster scum.”
Pretty much accurate.
Pre-1990s mentions of Amazon are related to the actual river.
Looks like Yale peaked in 1925.
The 1950s were the nicest time. We’re haters now, apparently.
This really shows the different concerns the last 150 years. Alcohol mentions had a big bump during Prohibition, but now “drugs” are more newsworthy (this includes mention of prescription drug news). Tobacco is sooooo over.
Pot today is the heroin of the ’70s. Cocaine peaked in 1990.
You can see their style guide changed right around 1990.
Even still, opera rules at the Times.
Sorry, Boston Los Angeles is the most talked about city now.
The buzziest president was… Carter?!?!?! (orange) Who’da thunk!
Saddam Hussein was mentioned in a higher percentage of overall articles in 2003 than Hitler in the peak years of World War II. However, if you look at the version of the graph for total number of articles (there’s a toggle switch at the bottom of the link), Hitler wins.
Hitler is STILL beating Justin in terms of NY Times mentions, even today.
Handout / Reuters
(Justin’s mugshot from earlier this month).
The Saddam vs. Hitler chart previous misstated the comparison between the two names. The graph (and all the others here) show the percentage of total articles mentioning the names, not the total number of mentions.