Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

The Wordy Tony Snow

Among other differences, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow tends to talk a good deal longer than his terser predecessor, Scott McClellan — 1,064 words longer on average. To compute that number, the Project for Excellence in Journalism examined 10 of Snow’s recent press briefings — in late November and December — and compared them with 10 of McClellan’s briefings from the same period a year earlier. The results were eye-catching. The average Snow briefing (45 minutes) lasted slightly more than 10 minutes longer than the average McClellan briefing (35 minutes), an increase of 30%. And after calculating a word count for each briefing, the Project found that the typical Snow session contained about 1,064 more words than the average McClellan go-round—or roughly four extra double spaced pages, or about one and half opinion columns in the New York Times. For thoseextra 10 minutes in a Tony Snow briefing there were roughly 15 more questions—about a 20% increase over McClellan. Read More