Quotes in headlines

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Quotes in headlines

Postby Qaanol » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:58 pm UTC

The BBC website frequently uses quotes in headlines that, to me at least, appear at first glance to be scare quotes. This is especially true when just a single word is in quotes. Upon further inspection they generally turn out to be verbatim quotes. Does anyone else notice this?

For example, just from the front page of the BBC right now:

MH17 hit by 'numerous objects'

US hails 'milestone' Iraq government

Chile condemns 'cowardly' bomb blast

Boko Haram 'shoots ex-leader's son'

Royal couple 'thrilled' at pregnancy

But then there is also this one, which is in fact using scare quotes:

Questions over Nicaragua 'meteorite'
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Re: Quotes in headlines

Postby Xenomortis » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:01 pm UTC


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Re: Quotes in headlines

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:13 pm UTC

Huh? The one you give as actually being scarequotes is also verbatim, see the first line where the government's quoted as calling it a "small meteorite".

I suspect it's because of BBC impartiality guidelines so they want to make it clear that they're stating someone else's opinion or conclusion rather than their own.
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Re: Quotes in headlines

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:41 am UTC

Yeah, I had the same reaction - that at first I read them as questioning the veracity of their own headlines, and then realized that it was just a house style thing. I do find it extraordinarily distracting, though.
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