Musings of a paper recycler

shock2AI was recycling newspapers from the library, and a few words repeatedly flashed across my vision as I stuffed the black bin. This set me thinking it was time for a silly statistics session…

I went to the Newsbank database, one of the many Westminster Libraries Exclusive online resources, and popped some of these words into the search box, specifying that they be in the headline. I must just point out that there are often duplicate entries in Newsbank, perhaps reflecting different issues of a newspaper or a modified version of a story. So what follows is a rough and ready indication.

“Fury” got a whopping 68,142 hits in total. The top three newspapers using the word in a headline were The Daily & Sunday Mirror (15,791); The Sun (13,385); and The Daily Record/Sunday Mail (6,998).

Here are some of the others, with the top 3 in brackets:

  • “Scandal” – 38,498 (Mirror; Guardian; Times).
  • “Outrage” – 11,939 (Mirror; Sun; Express)
  • “Horror” – 59,102 (Mirror; Sun; Daily Record)
  • “Shock” – 65,104 (Mirror; Sun; Daily Record)

So a clear lead for the Daily and Sunday Mirror. What about something a bit more specific? Does sex sell newspapers?

  • “Sex” – 142,411 (Mirror; Sun; Record)

How about violence?

  • “Killer” – 98,652 (Mirror; Sun; Record)

Fish in a barrel so far (or fish in a mirror – boom! boom!); let’s try something a bit more ambitious.

  • “Catastrophe” – 2,806 (Guardian; Independent: Times)

At last a bit more variety in the top 3!

Anyone can play this game – as long as you’ve got a Westminster library card, of course.



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