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UK Newspaper Front Page Headlines Review for July 2018 (infographic)

6 August, 2018

With the advertising in UK national newspapers rising for the first time after 2010 [ ] here is an infographic about the headlines of the papers and their price.

The UK newspapers

The review of the UK newspaper front page headlines took place during July 2018. In total all the July issues of 14 UK newspapers were examined. Here is the list of the 14 newspapers:

The headlines

In total there were 371 front pages / headlines which contained 2,326 words. In the world cloud the words are represented following a few ‘rules’:

  • Some words with the same root (e.g. various forms of a noun or/and a verb) have been grouped together and represented by a single word in order to have a fairer visualisation. For example there was one instance of the words “abuse”, “abused” and “abusers” each. It has been represented as if there were 3 instances of the word “abuse”.
  • The word Boris (8 instances) has been grouped with the word “Johnson” (6 instances) and presented as “Johnson” (14 instances).
  • Same goes for “Donald” / “Trump” / “Trump’s” – they are presented as “Trump”
  • “World” + “Cup” have been joined together (left as it was) “World Cup”
  • Common English words (e.g. “a”, “and”, “as” etc.) are not represented in the word cloud

Most used words were:

  1. Brexit (69 times)
  2. May (54 times)
  3. Trump (28 times)
  4. deal (23 times – most often as “trade deal”)
  5. Johnson (14 times)
  6. Tories (14 times)
  7. warn (13 times)
  8. trade (12 times)
  9. EU (11 time)
  10. MP (11 times)

The number of words per headline each newspaper uses was also examined. The average of all newspapers was 6.2 words per headline. Excluding the freesheets it seems that the price of the newspapers and the number of words they use per (front page) headline is roughly in proportion.

The Financial Times had the longest headlines: 10.2 words on average. It also has the highest price. The Guardian followed with 8.8 words per headline. Both newspapers had the three longest headlines overall with 13 words each:

  • “May ditches hope of keeping City in tight tie-up with EU after Brexit” (The Daily Telegraph, 12 July)
  • “PM to push Trump on trade deal as Tory anger over Brexit grows” (The Guardian, 13 July) and
  • “EU is my foe, says Trump as he heads for summit with Putin” (The Guardian, 16 July).

On the other end of the spectrum The Sun used 3.9 words per headline and it has the second lowest price. It’s also the newspaper with the most 1-word headlines (4: “Yeeess!”, “Airhead”, “Gnaws” and “Caught”). It has a tendency for pun headlines (“Hand of Jord“ – 4 July, “Donald Thump!” – 11 July, “Dim blue line” – 17 July, “Bake to the future” – 27 July) but it faces fierce competition from the Daily Star (“Let us spray” – 5 July, “Dyer hard” – 6 July, “Banana drama” – 7 July, “The water in Majorca don’t look like what it oughta!” – 18 July, “Brits go loco as it’s hotter than Acapulco” – 23 July).

Newspaper Words per headline (average in July 2018) Price of the weekday issues (in £)
The Financial Times / FT Weekend 10.2 2.70
The Guardian / The Observer 8.8 2.00
The Daily Telegraph / The Sunday Telegraph 7.7 1.80
The Times / The Sunday Times 7.2 1.60
Evening Standard 6.2 Free
Sunday People 6.2 N/A (Sunday issue only)
City A.M. 6.0 Free
i / i weekend 5.4 0.60
Daily Express / Sunday Express 5.4 0.60
Daily Star 5.4 0.40
Daily Mail / The Mail on Sunday 5.2 0.65
Daily Mirror / Sunday Mirror 5.2 0.75
Metro 4.9 Free
The Sun 3.9 0.50

The Price

Apart from the freesheets (Metro, City A.M. and Evening Standard) the price of daily/weekday newspapers ranges from 40p (Daily Star) to £2.70 (Financial Times) with £1.16 being the average price.

Sunday editions are the priciest of all (£1.64 on average). The cheapest is once more the Daily Star Sunday (£1.00) and the most expensive The Observer, which is the Sunday edition of The Guardian, costs £3.00.

The Saturday/weekend newspapers stand, in terms of price, somewhere between the daily and the Sunday ones: £1.61 on average. The cheapest is again the Daily Star (60p) while the price of FT Weekend is £3.90 which is the most expensive of the newspapers examined.

Generally speaking the prices of weekday, Saturday and Sunday newspapers can be described with the following inequality:

Price of weekday papers < Price of Saturday papers < Price of Sunday papers

An exception to the above is The Telegraph where the Saturday edition costs more than The Sunday Telegraph (prices are £2.20 and £2.00 respectively).

It seems that some papers consider their price as a competitive advantage to the point they advertise how much cheaper they are than their competitor on their masthead. So the Daily Star highlights that it’s “10p cheaper than The Sun” (“20p cheaper than the sinking Sun” on Daily Star Sunday) while The Sun brags that it costs “25p less than the Daily Mirror” (“50p less” on Saturdays).

The Strapline

Most UK newspapers include a strapline by their masthead which in most cases features an award the newspaper has received e.g. The Times: “Britain’s most trusted national newspaper” or a kind of the mission of the newspaper e.g. Daily Mirror: “Fighting for you”.

There must be so many awards that so many newspapers have won one. The Daily Telegraph is “Britain’s best-selling quality daily”, Mail on Sunday is “Sunday newspaper of the year”, Financial Times is “Newspaper of the year”, Metro is “The world’s most popular free newspaper” and Sunday People is “Campaigning newspaper of the year”.

There is nothing compared to the Daily Express though, which claims to be “The world’s greatest newspaper”.

However, only the i weekend newspaper reveals who awarded them: “Launch of the year – 2018 British Media Awards”.

The weekday i’s strapline falls to the ‘mission’ type: “Quality, concise – the future of independent journalism”.

Other ‘mission’ type straplines include “For a greater Britain” (The Sun), “Business with personality” (City A.M.) and “Proud to support our forces” (Daily Star).

The Daily Star has also claimed to be “Your official Love Island paper” and “Home of the page 3 girl”.


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