Uncovering Coverage: March Madness In The Daily Princetonian, Rosie Eden, UG '25 and Isabel Yip, UG '25 (2768621)
This project sought to analyze how the Daily Princetonian has portrayed March Madness in its pages from 1952 to 2011. Coverage of the tournament shows distinct trends in word choice and frequencies that are indicative of how the ‘Prince,’ and the Princeton community by extension, archives Princeton’s Men's Basketball Team. Our data shows a frequent characterization of the team as an “underdog,” a term that appears 8 times throughout the appearances of the team in March Madness. Notably, this descriptor appears more than other frequently used basketball terminology like “block” and “rebound,” words used to describe the game itself. In a breakdown of the usage of offense versus defense, defense appears 71.9% of the time while offense appears 28.1% of the time — a distinction that reinforces the characterization of Princeton as a team of scrappy, underdog athletes in the national tournament. These trends are even visible in the most recent coverage of the Tigers by national media outlets during their run through March Madness in 2023, frequently characterized as a “Cinderella run.”We also found that Mitch Henderson’s name was mentioned 66 timeS, significantly more than someone like Pete Carril, another iconic coach. We concluded that this is likely because Mitch Henderson was also a starter for the Tigers during his time in college, and he has had more years to find himself in the ‘Prince’ pages than many other individuals mentioned.