What Works Assignment 3/4

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

The headline definitely made me want to click on the story. The title suggests that the story is going to reveal details that make the Holocaust even more shocking. The Holocaust is already a word that instantly makes people cringe in remembrance of the atrocities that occurred during that time.  How could the story make it more shocking? The title hooks the reader, because the reader wants to find out.

The author uses a delayed lead by describing the years leading up to the researchers’ discovery of just how many concentration camps, ghettos and slave labor sites existed during the Holocaust.  It isn’t until the nutgraph in the third paragraph that the author reveals the data that researchers have found.

The fourth paragraph gives the reader more details about why this new research matters.  Since the Holocaust, historians have underestimated just how many death camps existed.  The research has proven that the number of camps is way higher than historians and scholars could have imagined.

The author does a phenomenal job of pulling the reader into the story by making the data come alive.  Significant amounts of data in the story are intertwined with the personal story of a camp survivor.  Hard numbers and data can provide a structure, but I think bringing in a person who has experienced what the data is trying to tell makes it a good story.

Holocaust survivor, Henry Greenbaum, and his experience in the camps is described in a way that makes the reader see what Greenbaum saw.  Greenbaum lost most of his family and had to bear the unimaginable while at the camps.  He stresses the importance of recording the data and research about these camps so future generations will know.  The reader can sense the weight of this event in history and how future generations need to know about it, so it won’t be repeated.

The author delves into how this data is affecting Holocaust survivors today and that gives the story more of a “news” angle.  Many of the survivors have claims that can be resolved now that researchers have proved their camps (the smaller camps) existed.

Five people (researchers, survivors, lawyers and directors) can be considered sources for the story.  All are official sources.  The author uses a variety of sources that can each give a different take on the information that is being presented in the story.

The story uses maps of ghettos/camps and a picture of an entrance to a ghetto.  However, I do think additional multimedia elements could be used to enhance the story.  For example, I think more pictures of the camps and of Hitler would be good visuals to use.  I also think a video of the camp survivor (Greenbaum) speaking about his experience would really add to the story.  His testimony is so moving that I think adding a face to the words would make more of an impact.

The story does a phenomenal job of presenting the facts of the Holocaust as well as the emotion.  A good story makes the reader feel something and this story does.


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