History Chair Claudio Saunt, Co-Director of the Center for Virtual History and Associate Director, Institute of Native American Studies, is one of just six prize recipients of the Chronicling America Data Challenge, announced by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The news release states "This nationwide competition garnered high-quality entries that used digital humanities to explore and exhibit untold stories found in the Chronicling America database".
His project, "USNewsMap.com discovers patterns, explores regions, investigates how stories and terms spread around the country, and watches information go viral before the era of the internet. This site argues that newspapers better capture the public discourse because of their quick publication schedule. For example, users can track “miscegenation,” a term coined in 1863 by a Democratic Party operative to exploit fears about Lincoln, and “scalawag,” a recently arrived term that quickly gained currency after 1869. Other examples for use are tracking regional differences in language, tracing the path of epidemics, and studying changing political discourse over time and space.