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2013 According To The Daily Express Front Page

Health breakthroughs and weather chaos, you guys.

Express/Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed

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.

These were the Express's biggest obsessions in 2013:

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.

Here's how the big stories changed as the year went on.

There generally seems to be an inverse correlation between Weather stories and Health breakthrough stories, probably because there's only a finite number of Express front pages in each month. (Weather is obviously hugely seasonal: the Express is very clear that spring and autumn weather is boring.)

Also, note that two of the Express's most stereotypical obsessions - Princess Diana and Madeleine McCann - are almost untouched for most of the year, then have huge spikes when the paper gets a story in its teeth. The Express published 17 of its 18 Princess Diana stories this year in a roughly five week period between July 18 and August 23, at a rate of nearly one every two days (the theme of the stories was that a secret SAS hit squad had assassinated her).

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.

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.

The Express loves a good weather story - especially if it involves predicting storms or heatwaves. Here's the first half of the year.


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.

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.

However, the upbeat health story was the clear winner of 2013 for the Express. But which health issues was it most keen for there to be a breakthrough in?

88% of the Express's daily readership is over 35 years old, which might just explain the focus on health issues associated with growing old.

They like stories about diabetes.

Especially if they involve a new diet.

They like stories about how to live longer.

Especially if they involve 7 things.

They really like stories about a pill for one thing that does something else as well.

e.g. Saving your life.

And they really, really like stories about Alzheimer's and dementia.


But nothing can match arthritis, the reigning champion of 2013 medical breakthroughs.


Congratulations, arthritis breakthrough! See you again in 2014!

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