word cloud analysis?

Every major newspaper needs a clever multimedia way to cover speeches at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Nytimes.com scores with its streaming video, transcript and hyperlinked outline all in one. But I noticed today that newspaper websites are using word counts to add graphical interest. But what can you tell from the fact that Republicans used the word “God” 43 times and Democrats used the word “McCain” 78 times during their conventions? I’m not completely sure — but it’s nice to look at.

Again, nytimes.com wins for design — they go the extra step to provide numerical breakdowns, and breakdowns by speaker. Washingtonpost.com wins for interesting content — they compare buzz words across history. It’s fascinating to see what has changed over the years, and even more so to see what hasn’t. My hometown paper, latimes.com, unfortunately suffers from not putting word clouds side by side, leaving in links to nowhere, and generally not providing much more than an automatically generated tag cloud, with generic text below it. Here are the screenshots, linked to their sources.