Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday Search Challenge (4/16/14): What was the major news story?

A while back I visited the state of Andhra Pradesh in India...  

It's fairly large, with a population of 84M people, making it the 5th largest state of India. In other words, it's 2.2 times larger than the population of California in just more than half of California's area.  Andhra Pradesh, like California, is the "rice bowl of India," providing a large fraction of southeast Asia's rice supply.  

It's been important historically, and given its size (the population of this one Indian state is roughly the same as the entire US population of all states west of Kansas), you'd think we'd know more about it.  

My visit made me start to wonder--what HAS happened, historically, in this region?  Sure, there's been a lot of history, but how would I find out more about what role Andhra Pradesh has played in world news?  

Since we know that the best way to learn something is to link it to other things that are related to it, I have three questions that are all news stories from the same year... the question is to figure out which year.  (Side comment:  This is probably the best way to learn the flow of history--don't remember dates, remember how things fit together in the tapestry of time.)  

1.  What was the biggest news story of something that happened in a particular part of Andhra Pradesh during the past 100 years?   (As measured by coverage in the international English language press. For people who want to use other languages, you should find the same result, but I don't know how to solve this in anything but English.)  
2.  In that same year, what was the biggest audio technology story? 
3.  Again, in that same year, what was the biggest story (same basis as before) about events going on in Germany?  

This isn't necessarily the simplest challenge.  (First question:  How do you measure "coverage in the English language press?)  But I think you'll find it interesting, and I assure you, you'll learn interesting things along the way. 

Be sure to tell us HOW you found the answer.  (What methods did you use?  What resources did you find that were helpful?) 

Search on! 


  1. Indian independence "happened in Andhra Pradesh" in the sense that it happened everywhere in India... but I am guessing implicit in your challenge is that the event be _centered_ in the state in some way (which national independence would not).

  2. Excellent point, Daniel. I didn't mean Independence--sloppy question writing on my part. I *meant* something that happened in a particular REGION of Andhra Pradesh, not to AP (or India) in as a whole. (I rewrote the question to a bit to reflect this.) Thanks for the tip.

    1. Good day, Dr. Russell and all my peers.

      I tried the challenge and not found answers yet. At the beginning, thought was the Independence like Daniel said. Then Read the new posts.

      Then I returned to search and looked for events that happened in period 1900..2014, and just found one. I'll not write it because not sure this is the right one and therefore, make others fall in that. With that information, searched Germany, and audio technology. Again, found some interesting facts but I not sure it is the answer. So, I need to research more.

      I have to say, that don't have any idea about how to measure media coverage in these stories that I found.

    2. Ramon I am now at a similar stage. I believe I have two of the answers but I still need to bring it together. I have spent more time thinking about the challenge than actual searching. It will be interesting to see how others approach this challenge. I hope that I am on the right track but now I have some benchmarks.

  3. Just taking a break because at the moment I don't know how to unravel this challenge. In reading various articles on the history of AP I am noticing certain political events/movements/people mentioned in each article. Zeroing in on the most significant event reported by international news in 100 years is difficult. But for anyone checking in, here is an interesting news story reported this week in AP. It has the technology factor included. Back to work now.

  4. after spending some time ruminating on this question at the Roshan Sweet House
    and lower, center
    (outside the Government Nizamia Tibbi College/Hospital in Hyderabad [Unanui])
    … in a search engine induced trance three names and a date came to me and I started a voice/text interface:
    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi/Assassinationglobal coverage
    Bing Crosby/Ampex Model 200A/3M Scotch 111 gamma ferric oxide coated acetate tape
    SoS George Catlett Marshall, Jr.l/Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP)
    … anyway, interesting question this week… don't know if any of that is relevant, but as MKG said:
    "A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes."

    and ancillary Indian '48 event that is now getting focus…
    Hindu/Muslim relations
    O POLO
    Hyderabad assimilation
    Prince Mukarram Jah Bahadur, 8th Nizam of Hyderabad
    now days HITEC

    btw, the rugelach, shahjahani meetha, and falooda were very tasty… thanks for pointing the shop out…
    also thought I saw the spirit of SPJ… there is a '48 tie there too - Clara Jobs worked at this SV place, started in 1948 - Varian bookkeeper

    1. Hi Remmij. 1948 is the year I found too. My options for the challenge answers are:

      1. Operation Polo.
      2. The Audio Engineering Society.
      3. Berlin Blockade.

      However, I can not think in a way to answer How do you measure "coverage in the English language press?

    2. Ramón - like the Berlin Blockade idea for the German portion, makes sense that would be it -
      (could DrD be messing with us?? 1948 > 1984 > Berlin > Kiev > Ampex reel to reel > Google eDrum buds implants…?) will be eager to see how this turns out.

      1. What was the biggest news story of something that happened in a particular part of Andhra Pradesh during the past 100 years? (As measured by coverage in the international English language press
      decided the key might be "international English" so, given the time and place, went to a UK source… and came up with this - 5,407 pages represents pretty large
      coverage to me and a reasonable "measure":
      [1948 hyderabad, india]

      …meanwhile, busy listening to this (1948) on this
      $model 200$

      for passenger -
      33 1/3 rpm microgroove
      multi-track tape recording made the recordings possible to put on the LPs… kinda a chicken/egg - producer/consumer - artist/audience thing to me… imho.

      sticky wicket
      down the line, big Unity

  5. this spanned 10,000 years, so wasn't sure if it qualified… hope that isn't a precursor of the CA drought aftermath…!!
    10,000 years

  6. In the interest of stimulating conversation here are my findings.

    There are several stories out of Andhra Pradesh. I focused initially on history. Some possibilities were:
    Civil Disobedience if the conditions laid down by Mahatma Gandhi were fulfilled.
    Three episodes during the Civil Disobedience Movement in Andhra attracted the attention of the whole country.
    Telangana' and the `Jai Andhra' Movements respectively
    The farmer suicides in Punjab, due to their indebtedness .

    These are all newsworthy but perhaps doesn't factor in international press coverage. I started thinking more in terms of International Press coverage (Ramon I agree with your comment). I entered this query [andhra pradesh "worst event reported internationally"] and I get the Bhopal disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered the world's worst industrial disaster.[1] It occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.” killing 3,787 people.

    Events in the News from Australia also lists this event supporting international acknowledgement of its significance. But what convinced me more was this newspaper article of Dec 1984 that lists the poll from Associated Press for press and broadcasters listing the top 10 events of the year 1984.

    The Summer Olympics made the AP list and I am jumping to the conclusion that the event in Germany at the time was the boycott by East Germany along with other eastern bloc countries.

    As for the second answer my query ["1984" "audio technology invention" digital] gave me a historical timeline of modern technology by the Audio Engineering Society . In 1983 Fiber-optic cable is used for long-distance digital audio transmission, linking New York and Washington, D.C. and in 1984 The Apple Corporation markets the Macintosh computer.

    But just as well and perhaps better suited to the challenge is the invention of the CD History of the Compact Disc

    I think some more research in regards to the Associated Press to see if I can find a database of international polls of other events and years is a good idea. As well, I’m left wondering if I have any of this correct because I did think I was going to find a link between each answer.

    1. Two bad links
      Newspaper article from "The Day" Dec 27 1984", New London, Conn.,5963599

      CD quote "1984: Advanced technology to store and retrieve data from CD-ROM introduced." Here's another website

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Checking in again. I posted very late last night but I don't see it here. So just in case I realized my answer to #1 was wrong because I made a colossal mistake by not confirming the location of Bhopal. It is located in the neighboring state of a similar name Madhya Pradesh and not Andhra Pradesh. So I have started over. I

      I have found several stories as I mentioned before and weather related disasters, bombings etc. As well others here have listed stories of significance but how do we identify it as "internationally reported biggest news story". That's what I'm working on. Not just major events of the region. My approach right now is to focus on the international news stories with emphasis on the "biggest in the last 100 years".

  7. Hi to you all.
    After perusing some sites about India and Andhra Pradesh history I thought 2 major events, the operation polo and the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam could have reached international press coverage. But something kept bothering me: the name Andhra Pradesh was rather recent (1956) and something could have took place in that part of India before the name was "invented". So, rethinking about press coverage I supposed that if something of international importance happened there, it must have involved the capital one way or another and did the magic search : [Hyderabad] and indeed the surrender of the Nizam of Hyderabad and the annexion of his state to India got a real international coverage in 1948. A good opportunity to learn some facts about the creation of the post-colonial India by the way. Quite remarkable is the fact that "operation polo" does not give any result in, the use of this kind of "naming" in the press looks rather recent (Hollywood influence, I think).

    My answer is:

    1- 1948 - Surrender of the Nizam of Hyderabad followed by the annexion of the state of Hyderabad to the Indian Union.

    2- 1948 audio technology [audio history] -> audio timeline. Here I disagree with my fellow searcher Ramón, but I think the main fact is not the creation of the AES (from my french point of view this is rather anecdotic) but the introduction of the 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record by columbia (2nd line in the 1948 entry of the aes timeline). The 'LP' was going to revolutionize the recording industry.

    3- I didn't searched this one. I knew this was the year (in June) of the beginning of the Berlin blockade.

    This one was a rather tough one, but a very good one…

    1. I agree Passaged 33 1/3 is the note. I don't know how I didn't see it.

      This is the way that used to get answers, and, like you say Remmij, I'm eager to see how this challenge is solved. Still don't know how to measure press coverage.

      [Historical events 1948]
      [Hyderabad historic events]
      [Hyderabad 1948]
      [Historic events 1948] with this query, Info please give great information. I learned many top news and events.

  8. My answers:
    1. Congenital twins successfully separate in Guntur
    2. Digital Audio Technology which allowed music to be streamed in the homes via TV cable
    3. Germany paid Jews that survived the holocaust.

    I found he first one by 1st learning the names of the major cities in Andhra Pradesh ( wikipedia had articles for only of those cities, Guntur, so I figure it was more important), I then searched for "timeline history Andhra Pradesh" the third result was for a timeline of Guntur but none of the other cities so I clicked on it and looked at the list of events after 1956. The only on the list that looked sensational enough for global popularity was the one about the congenital twins which happened in 1992.

    I now had the year so I search in google for "audio technology" and under search tools limited the time range to the year 1992, all the top articles had to do with the digital audio.

    I did a similar search for Germany but this time I narrowed the scope to news in the year 1992.

  9. I did a search with the key words "andhra pradesh international news worst" and found that a horrible cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh on November 19, 1977 killing between 10,000 and 20,000 people. Next, I did a search with keywords "audio technology 1977" and found out that many theaters started using Dolby Stereo after the success of the movie Star Wars. Finally, I did a search with the key words "Germany 1977" and the second search result referred to an extraordinary series of events that took place in 1977 known as the "German Autumn" which involved the terrorist organization known as the Red Faction Army.

  10. If the time period was from 2004 onward, I think I would use Google Trends to assess what was big in the news at any given time. I don't know how to do that for 1948!

  11. Right now I'm going with Passager's answers.

    I began by reading up on the state of Andhra Pradesh on Wikipedia. Then [ andhra pradesh districts ] to a list of the districts within Andhra Pradesh. I then got thinking about how do we measure media coverage and did a few searches for around [ measuring media coverage ] or [ news coverage analysis tool free -"code coverage" ].

    Moved back to the Wikipedia page on Andhra Pradesh and focused on the english versions of the news outlets listed at the bottom. My thinking - didn't every news outlet have the top news stories of the last century at the end of 1999 or beginning of 2000? Finding their archives proved fruitless.

    Searched [ andhra pradesh ] and [ hyderabad ] in Google's newspaper archive (it doesn't have any of the Indian newspapers). Found that people in the U.S. were reading news stories of the Nizam's wealth and harem.

    Other sites I searched included:
    Life magazine archive on Google Books

  12. I would like to share what information I have at the moment. This may be a group challenge. My thought process is that we need to find a dataset/list/collection of news articles over the past 100 years that mentions Andhra Pradesh. Where would we find this information? Because of the international coverage we aren’t looking for a specific newspaper I thought I could find something through Associated Press or United Press International since they are purveyors of news right? Indirectly I have found a couple of lists without good result. This first one I believe originates from Associated Press.

    I have attempted to access AP archives unsuccessfully @

    Then I found Newseum which looked interesting and again found a list

    But again without a positive result.

    I decided to examine news archives in India and this link shows several events in Andhra Pradesh. It’s an excellent website but again not the results we need.

    In case the above link doesn’t work here is the original.,01/01/1914-04/01/2014:Date

  13. I give up !

    Spent way too long on this. Read tonnes of stuff about that state but I still cannot figure out just what you are after nor how to find it. Read also some Indian papers archives in English, NY Times, The Times (London) and now late in day 2 I discover my fingers have been typing and incorrect spellings too.

    I look forward to seeing your resolution of this Challenge.


  14. Re tools - you probably need something like the Ngram viewer but for newspapers or a text analysis tool - such as those listed here

    But I have no idea how you would actually do this.

    Interested in solution too!

  15. This is part of my post that didn’t appear yesterday. It isn’t a solution but a good site nevertheless.I decided to examine news archives in India and this link shows several events in Andhra Pradesh. It’s an excellent website but again not the results we need.

    From searching today I’ve found various forms of what I believe is “data-mining”. Here’s some sites describing tools or providing rather sophisticated tools. As well I’ve found that the news media is using things like Trends, Twitter, Instagram, & other social media sources for tracking popularity. What I can’t figure out is how any of these modern tools will help identify news coverage of a story that is the most popular in the past 100 years.

  16. I think the tool we're looking for is something like a free access ProQuest (, which I couldn't find [newspaper database]. I have the feeling that some university may have such a tool, but I give up, not enough time to search. Good luck.

  17. Here’s some more data mining tools. I haven’t had a chance yet to explore but I will. I’ll come back later with results but give it a go in the meantime. It’s a group challenge afterall.