Case Study on Slow-motion Tragedy for American Workers

The Article, Slow- motion tragedy for American workers is a moving case study about how workers in construction sites are exposed with dusts and micro particles that damage their lungs. This story does an excellent job of incorporating various storytelling elements that was taught in integrated media and storytelling. The elements that the story had was lists, a video, chunking, pictures, visual inter actives, charts, block quotes, quotes, social media friendly, captioned pictures, story updates, links,  headings, subheadings, chunking, picture collages, timelines, slideshows, audience participation, emotional appeal, commentary and plenty of expert opinion and data. The only fault I find with this article is that it is a tad long and it did not use maps. In this essay I will explain how this story did perfectly incorporated all of these story elements.

Informative Subheadings

Before you tell a story you have to know your audience. Your story has to have a purpose. Why do you want to tell the story to the audience? Why should the audience care? The subheading of this case study adequately answers these questions. According to Aerogramme Writing Studio’s 50 narrative devices for non-fiction storytellers, you have to always capture your story in a sentence or two max.


Know Your Audience

I believe that the target audience are everyday people as well as the people affected from silicosis, the disease various construction workers get for inhaling dusts and particles. The audience is also OSHA, doctors, the family and friends of the people suffering with this disease, the white house ( President Obama was quoted), various lawmakers and courts, as well as the employers of these construction workers.  The stories purpose is to state how these workers were not protected from these health hazards, as well as state how the dust exposure affects these workers and lead to many diseases. This is an ongoing story about how what actions or lack thereof are affecting these people’s lives.

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50 Narrative Devices

There are rules for storytelling of all kinds and this story did a phenomenal job of incorporating those rules.  One of the rules is to tell the truth. This case study told the truth about big organizations that are supposed to be trusted. One of the other advices from Aerogramme writer’s studio is to think about the audience’s emotions. This story did an excellent job of that by telling the story of one man who suffered from the lung disease due to his job. Other characters were connected to him to tell his story, such as the role OSHA and his doctors played. Other people’s stories that suffered similar or worse fate was also told. The end of the case study is the perfect example of utilizing emotional appeal because it told of a young man who suffered the lung disease and in his last days he coughed up blood and vomited, when he passed on his mother would wake up from her sleep and remember that her once ailing son was no longer with her. This emotional appeal helps reiterate the cause that better preventative measures need to be provided to these construction workers.

This case study revealed the conflict in this story such as OSHA and the construction sites not providing enough protection for the workers. This story also showed that the statistics of these people dyng were not just numbers, they were people like you and me. This was depicted by showing their pictures ( picture collage) and telling their stories or allowing us to view their stories on a separate link.

The study had me hooked to finding out what happened next because all of the information was not told at once, I had to keep reading to find out exactly what disease the character suffered and how him and people like him were coping with the disease.


The case study is broken up into four parts by informative headings that state what the paragraphs are going to talk about.

Pictures and Captions


Every article should have visual aid of some sort. As soon as you open the case study, you see a picture of construction workers and one of them is in a hospital gown and has an IV bag attached to him. Without even reading the case study, the audience knows or has a clue about what they are about to read. They gain a more deeper insight when they connect that picture to the title and subheading of the case study. The authors utilized captions so that the reader knew exactly how the picture related to the story or at least knew where the picture was from.  The pictures in the story were at relevant places. If the case study was talking about what the President of OSHA said, his picture with a direct quote of what he said would be off to the side with a caption. Having pictures are a huge asset to any story because the reader can better picture the characters of the story and better imagine what the story is about.


According to Kivi’s NonProfit Communications Blog, chunking is breaking down a long article into smaller, manageable , more easily understood blocks of text. For instance, a 2,000 word article can be broken up into 600-700 blocks of texts. This story utilizes this well because the paragraphs were broken down in 100-200 blocks of texts. There were even a break between paragraphs where there was only one sentence and then the next paragraph continued.


This story was interesting but long and I appreciate how there was a list to break down the content at some point in the middle of the article.



This case study was intertwined with numerous other stories so there were links to reference as well as back up what was being said. The lists broke down OSHA’s chemical limit as well as the Center for Public Integrity’s findings.

Timeline and Video

There was a timeline that explained the main character’s story by time frame and it incorporated the full story. There was also a video that explained how dangerous his job was.



Data was extremely vital in this story because it talks about how many people died of these diseases in the work place, the legal chemical exposure limits, and the life expectancy of the victims. These important data and statistics make the story credible.  Data is important in a story because it tells a story through engaging info graphs. According to the data journalism handbook, data can be used to create deeper insights on what is happening around the world and how it affects us. In this story the data further impacted the story by explaining exactly how many millions of people were dying. There was also a lot of expert opinion that was supported by the data  Data is also important to use because you cannot argue with it.


Audience Participation Interactives and Charts

Throughout the case story, it was made known that audience participation is welcome because there are social media buttons by the authors names as well as key findings, meaning you can talk to the authors as well as talk about what they wrote. There were also interactives about some data that was discovered. When something scientific was being discussed, there were charts off to the side that explained them. The reader could also comment on the case study at the bottom.

The fault that I had with this case study is that it was long. It was interesting and informational but it could have been broken down into a series. There could have also been a map to tell where in the United States these victims suffered, perhaps where the headquarters of OSHA is located and exactly where the main character is from. That would have given better insight and personalized the story. Overall this case study was well written and had a lot of storytelling elements that I learned in class


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