News Report On Wartime Atrocity Even More Powerful For Its Brevity

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News Report On Wartime Atrocity Even More Powerful For Its Brevity

KHAWHEABAD, AFGHANISTAN—A 300-word article describing a nighttime attack on civilians that was carried out using white phosphorous charges and bayonets was given additional impact and emotional resonance by virtue of its brevity, sources close to the story's reporters confirmed Monday. Use of plain facts, such as the number of civilians killed in the incident, the simple mention of the extremely high temperature at which white phosphorous burns and of its tendency to adhere to human flesh, and the stark observation that most of the survivors were orphaned children under 14 years of age, lent the piece an almost unendurable weight. Furthermore, sources confirmed that the article's brief description of an elderly woman cradling an infant was made more powerful by its terseness, allowing readers to fill in the missing details with their own vivid imaginations. At press time, it was not known whether a similarly emotionally desolate and devastating follow-up feature would eventually run.


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