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Coon Rapids Soldier Dies In Iraq

A Coon Rapids, Minn. Army soldier died Monday in Iraq when a bomb exploded near his vehicle, Defense Department officials said on Wednesday.

The story that ran in the Star Tribune, by the Associated Press, reported that Sgt. William J. Beardsley, 25, died Monday in Diwaniyah. The story reported what unit Beardsley was a part of and that he was the 52nd person with Minnesota ties to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. I think that the big issue with this story is getting relevant information into a story and getting it out quickly. This story seemed more like a brief and I would expect to see another story run later once his family is notified. This story would undoubtedly have quotes and background information that this version lacked. I think that the time constraints dictated the way this story was written. However, this story did have a very breaking news type lead that was done very well in combination with the second graph or the nut graph.

An Army soldier from Coon Rapids was killed in Iraq when a bomb exploded near his vehicle, the Defense Department said Wednesday.
Sgt. William J. Beardsley, 25, died Monday in Diwaniyah. He was assigned to the 260th Quartermaster Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Troop Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division of Fort Stewart, Ga.

A very similar story ran in the Pioneer Press, written by Tad Vezner. The Vezner version delayed the information about Beardsley’s unit until the third graph and instead presented a very different lead and second graph or nut graph.

A Coon Rapids soldier died in Iraq Monday after an improvised bomb went off near his vehicle, army officials said.
Sgt. William Joseph Beardsley, 25, died in Diwaniyah, Iraq, of wounds from the explosion. Diwaniyah is a mostly Shiite town 80 miles south of Baghdad.

Both stories reported very much the same information and both stories were very much in the style of a breaking news story.

I felt that these two stories were almost too similar to choose a favorite or a preference. However, in light of the fact that I feel that I should choose one, I feel that the Vezner version’s decision to delay the unit information until the third graph was something that I agreed with and something I appreciated so I would say that I preferred the Vezner version for this reason.