Unasked questions about D-Day

by andybechtel

The D-Day anniversary was front-page news in The News & Observer on Saturday. The centerpiece story in the Raleigh paper was a profile of a sailor who was there. He is now a retiree living in North Carolina.

As expected, the story weaves in the history of that day in 1944, when the Allies pushed into Nazi-occupied France. This background in the story, however, leaves out some crucial details.

For example, the story mentions Normandy, but never places those beaches in France. It’s risky to assume that readers know that. Another paragraph threatens to overwhelm readers with an avalanche of numbers.

All of this could have been better handled in a locator map and textbox, perhaps in a Q&A format. Here are some questions to answer:

  • What is D-Day? Why is it called that?
  • Where and when did it take place?
  • How many people fought on D-Day, and how many were killed and wounded?
  • What is its broader significance?

When newspapers remember D-Day next year, let’s hope they also remember to explain it to readers who need a primer on this important moment in history. Perhaps bookmarking this at the BBC site will serve as a reminder.

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