India in the New York Times: a 150-year story

A new NYT app helps you track the popularity of news subjects in its pages

July 29, 2014 04:43 pm | Updated 04:47 pm IST

Screenshot of NYT Chronicle

Screenshot of NYT Chronicle

This is a blog post from

Over at this blog, we’re happy to point our readers to great data work being done by other news organisations. The New York Times has developed an app that you might find yourselves losing days on; called >chronicle , it draws from the NYT’s searchable archives and allows you to plot a chart of the usage of any word over time.

We’ll leave you to play with it (some tips: the rise of the >selfie , a sudden recent interest in >Muslims , the post-Global Financial Crisis concern about >inequality ). But here’s one I found particularly interesting. >India was mentioned far more frequently in the New York Times in the 1850s, at the height of British colonial rule, than it is today. (Note: the word >‘Indian’ features separately, so it wasn’t references to America’s indigenous communities that was driving the numbers up.) More local, less international coverage today than before?

Colonial ties? A phrasing quirk? We’re not sure. Anyway, our thanks to the NYT for this great toy, and enjoy playing find something surprising, do drop us a line in the comments.

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