December 02, 2010

observation of the moment

i use a google news consolidator with some tweaks for things i'm
interested in. today i noticed that 4 of the 23 headlines included

* GOP tax cut ultimatum: principled or 'temper tantrum?'
{source: CNN international}

* are aliens among us? sort of, NASA says
{fox news}

* can marchionne build jeeps cheaper in italy?

* what do videos say about lebron?

i'm not sure what to make of it. 1 of 2 things must be true. either

i caught a freak day and just happened to get a large number of ?s by


it's been this way for awhile and i'm just now noticing it.

i have a pretty strong familiarity with the AP style guide -- especially
for someone that is, for all practicle purposes, illiterate -- and this
definitely wasn't in there a few years ago.

maybe this is style progression thing. like the trailing comma in a
list being deleted (it was optional when i was a kid, it's standard

i guess my headline on this should have been:

* has modern style progressed without b1 noticing it?


Blogger Tim Dierks said...

Yes, this is a common tactic to get clicks and get people interested. May not be in the AP stylebook because headlines are more important in the online world than they were in the press world.

For validation & more information, see [question headlines]

Thursday, December 02, 2010 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Keith Rollin said...

This practice of using the question mark to disclaim sensationalistic "news" that probably wouldn't stand actual scrutiny has been going on for a while. Jon Stewart called shenanigans on it a couple of years ago.

Thursday, December 02, 2010 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger b1-66er said...

@TD: google marked your comment as spam. oh, the irony.

this from my pal entropy dave (copied on the original email post):

Interesting. I think it is a rather pathetic attempt at populism, to seem more accessible. Like Cosmo for news.

Enthalpy Lorna, who has 20 years of journalism at major papers under her belt, says that it is a practice that should be very rare. In her words, "It just annoys the reader. Why ask a question, you're the news, shouldn't you know, otherwise what is it doing in the paper."

Thursday, December 02, 2010 4:48:00 PM  
Blogger b1-66er said...

addendum: i like these comments ... maybe i should consider writing down more things i just notice and think about?

Thursday, December 02, 2010 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger anne said...

yes, please

Thursday, December 02, 2010 8:13:00 PM  

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