The Daily Express and Sunday Express hold a unique position in the British media. Their front page headlines are drawn from a remarkably consistent pool of topics. They know what their readers like, and they serve it up with admirable dedication. (And with some success - the Daily Express has an average daily readership of 1.1million people, more than half of whom are in the valuable ABC1 demographic.)
But which stories are they really most obsessed with? Benefit cheats? House prices? Princess Diana? We looked at the front page headline of all 364 editions of the Daily and Sunday Express in 2013 to find out just which topics really dominated Express-world this year.
2013 was an amazing year for the biomedical sciences. More than one in five of all front page headlines published by the Express in 2013 were about a supposed health breakthrough of some kind. Between them, health breakthroughs and weather made up over 40% of the year’s splashes.
And you only need to look at four topics - health breakthroughs, weather, immigration and Maddie McCann - before you’ve accounted for half of their lead stories for the entire year.
5. Of all the Express’s obsessions, none can quite match the sheer consistency of how they reported on house prices.
That’s 20 stories in a year, all devoted to essentially expressing shock and amazement at an upwards-trending graph going upwards.
6. Stories about immigration were a bit more popular this year than stories about the EU and benefits. But best of all was when they could combine them all into one headline.
7. The Express loves a good weather story - especially if it involves predicting storms or heatwaves. Here’s the first half of the year.
8. And here’s the second half of the year.
Bad weather definitely has the advantage, though. There were 21 stories about storms, 14 about freezes, and 8 about snow - compared to 13 about heatwaves and other warm weather.
9. This was also this.
When they published a story attacking water firms for predicting that there would be a drought, despite the fact it was raining at the time. And then, just over three weeks later, published a story saying that there was going to be a drought.
11. They like stories about diabetes.
Especially if they involve a new diet.
12. They like stories about how to live longer.
Especially if they involve 7 things.
13. They really like stories about a pill for one thing that does something else as well.
e.g. Saving your life.
14. And they really, really like stories about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
15. But nothing can match arthritis, the reigning champion of 2013 medical breakthroughs.
Congratulations, arthritis breakthrough! See you again in 2014!