The most important words in President Obama’s speech

Jen Wagner made this image using the speech text and

Jen Wagner made this image using the speech text and

What you see here is a word cloud, created in of the 50 words President Obama used the most in the remarks prepared for his chat with school children tomorrow. Here’s a link to the text of the prepared remarks. (The cloud image links to details of how it was made.)

Here’s one message from the speech that resonated with me:

You can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

There’s something here for all of us to learn from.


Faster than the Pony Express

Thanks to the printing press, the mail coach and the steam packet—gifts beyond the gifts of fairies—we can all see and hear what each other are doing, and do and read the same things nearly at the same time.

— Maria Edgeworth, (1767-1849) Irish author

(thanks to Ted Pease and his alert WORDster Louise Montgomery)


So “The Media” (whoever they is ;-), suffered an upset in New Hampshire Tuesday night when Hillary Clinton won. The polls had said Barack Obama would win the Democratic primary race there, but then an unprecedented number of the voters changed made up their minds in the voting booth.

But the good news is that there was no “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline, because we have better and faster tools to turn on a dime and respond to news as it happens.

There’s a lot of speculation about why the pollsters and The Media (and the candidates?) headed into the New Hampshire vote thinking Obama would win the Democratic contest.

I’m not smart enough to answer that.

I wonder, however, if it is not The Media, but instead, the medium. If you agree with the suggestion that it was Hillary Clinton’s “near tears experience” that prompted a remarkable number of people to decide to vote for her, then it was video on the Web that tipped the scales.

Yes, it was ABC’s video, but more than a dozen individuals copied and posted the video on YouTube, and that’s where it went viral, getting more than half a million pageviews and thousands of comments in one-tenth the time it took the Pony Express to gallop a mochila across the country.

I’m thinking that The Media’s not in charge of the message here.

From a personal standpoint, I love that there is still a very serious contest underway, which means the Nevada caucus next week really matters. And even though the UNLV spring semester doesn’t start for another week after that, my students can cover it live, as it happens, with new tools, like Utterz and Twitter.

I had a delightful conversation about the ch-ch-changes and the primary this morning on KNPR’s State of Nevada with host Dave Berns and three political science professors, David Damore and Ken Fernandez of UNLV, and Eric Herzik University of Nevada, Reno.

Here’s a link to the audio from the show, and I expect we’ll be back for more next Wednesday morning after the Nevada caucus.

How wonderful it is that no matter which time zone we’re in, we all have a front row seat!