Ghosts in The New York Times

April 12, 2018 - All

For this project, I wanted to explore the coverage of ghosts and haunted houses by The New York Times. I am the Senior Taxonomist for The New York Times and part of my work is to promote our archives and the use of our tool TimesMachine. I was inspired to do this research while looking for good material to tweet out for the @NYTArchives Twitter account around Halloween. I came across a number of gems and knew that there must be more. The New York Times has been tagging content with metadata since 1851, so I knew that there should be tags that I could query to surface spooky material from the archives. I began by looking at one of the articles I had found for the Twitter feed. Viewing this article in TimesMachine, I could see that the tag “Ghosts” was associated with the content. I looked at some other articles on hauntings and found that there was also a tag for “Haunted Houses.” I decided to use these tags as a guide to query for content. Knowing that locations were also often tagged to articles, I thought that it would be possible to map these instances geographically so that one could see where these hauntings, some debunked, were happening. I was able to ultimately query on the subject tags using an internal New York Times search API and map the results using Tableau Public. The Process: I decided to explore using the APIs available at the New York Times Developers Network.

› tags: culture / programming / python /