The Biggest News of 2021 Measured by Font Size

For the last year, I’ve been keeping track of the font size of the headlines on

If you haven’t noticed, adjusts the font size of their headline based on how newsworthy the article is. For example, here’s a big headline from Jan 6th with a font size of 72px:

Screenshot of with a large headline

As a research project, I setup a bot that checks the font size of the headline every hour and it’s been running for over a year. Since it’s near the end of the year, I thought it would be a good time to look at the results and see what they tell us, if anything

Should be fun

Without further ado, here is the chart of CNN font sizes for 2021:

Hover over the bars above to see the largest headline for each day of 2021. Sorry if you’re on mobile, it’s a little squsihy 😅. You can click the blue bars to go to the news story related to the headline. Some of the bars are grey and not clickable because I didn’t think to start tracking the news story link until April (oops).

This chart shows the probability of a certain headline font size. So you can see the most likely font size is between 36-40px (~36% chance). But you can also see on any given day you’re more likely to have a news story with a larger font size (~64% chance).

Here’s a few highlights

Headline with the biggest font size

20 Years (Sept 11th - 136px)

This headline marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and linked to CNN’s coverage of the anniversary. Some first responders are still struggling to get their healthcare paid for relating to injuries from 9/11.

Other big headlines

MOB INVADES CAPITAL (Jan 6th - 95px)

IMPEACHED AGAIN (Jan 13th - 102px)

PRESIDENT BIDEN (Jan 20th - 102px)

ACQUITTED AGAIN (Feb 13th - 102px)

CHAUVIN GUILTY (Apr 20th - 102px)

GOP OUSTS CHENEY (May 12th - 102px)

Democracy at risk (May 28th - 102px)

BILES OUT OF TEAM FINALS (Jul 27th - 82px)

Big win for Biden (Nov 6th - 100px)

Couple observations

It’s interesting that you can really see the “24-hour news cycle” visualized here. The largest headline on every day is usually a completely different headline. There are a couple times when the headline or a similar headline sticks around for 48 hours, but the vast majority of headlines only last a day.

Written By Ben Lorantfy

Ben is an award-winning software developer specializing in frontend development. He builds delightful user experiences that are fast, accessible, responsive, and maintainable and helps others to do the same. He lives with his partner and dog in Kitchener, Ontario.More About Ben »Follow @benlorantfy on twitter »