More about colon-as-attribution-signifier

As I’ve noted before (though possibly not here in Words & Stuff), I feel like the common practice of using a colon in a newspaper headline to indicate attribution can lead to amusing confusion.

The latest example I’ve come across isn’t quite the same thing; instead of attribution per se, it’s using a colon to separate the headline from the title of the regular feature. In particular, NPR has a blog called “Goats and Soda” (“covering health and all sorts of development around the world”), and Google News tends to present articles from that blog by giving the title of the article, then a colon, then the title of the blog.

Which often leads to entertaining results, like this recent headline:

A Former Heroin Addict Runs A Rehab Center With A Different View Of Abstinence : Goats and Soda

I also see this sort of thing a lot in social media; for example, often a Tumblr post linked to from Facebook shows the title of the Tumblr instead of, or in addition to, information about the post being linked to, which is often confusing. But I don’t have any examples handy offhand.

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