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Eagan Marine Killed In Iraq

An Eagan Marine died Monday in Fallujah, Iraq after taking small arms fire in the back from insurgents while on patrol.

The story that was reported by the Star Tribune was written by Tim Harlow. This story reported that Lance Cpl. Daniel Olsen, 20, died in Fallujah on Monday just days after speaking with his family. The story reported that Olsen talked with his mother just days before his death and requested a care package of Goldfish crackers and Cap’n Crunch cereal. The story reported all of the relevant information about Olsen’s unit and his service.

Olsen, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines Fox Company, was the 57th with strong Minnesota ties to die in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As noted above the story did also report the relevant information about how many soldiers with Minnesota ties have died in the fighting. The story gave considerable consideration to the state of mind of mind of Olsen’s family.

“It’s very sad for us,? said Daniel Olsen’s father, Wayne. “But we are a strong faith community, and we believe that Daniel is in a much better place.?

The story gave what information it could about the circumstances surrounding Olsen’s death but not much was known.

In the coming days, Wayne Olsen said he hopes the family will learn more about his son’s death. Wayne said Daniel was wearing full armor at the time he was shot. Wayne said he read the medical report, but it provided few details.

The story continued with reports of Olsen’s life at home in the U.S. The story reported some of Olsen’s interests like music and drumline and joking around with his sisters.

I think that the biggest challenge with this story was getting at enough information from the family while respecting their wishes for privacy as I’m sure that they are still grieving. I think that Harlow had to balance the need to get a story with showing the family proper respect for their loss. Harlow also had to determine the focus of the story; was the story about Olsen’s life and accomplishments or was it about his death and the circumstances about it. I think that Harlow did a nice job creating a balance between these two ideas.

A second version of the story of Olsen’s death ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by the Associated Press. This story reported much of the same information and in most cases reported significantly less information than the Harlow version. The main difference in this version was that the Associated Press reported that Olsen was the 49th member of the military from Minnesota to die in the fighting, whereas the Harlow version reported that Olsen was the 57th soldier to die who had strong Minnesota ties. I suppose that this difference could be attributed to the different ways that the news outlets went about finding their numbers. They both referenced their numbers in different ways and that was interesting. The AP version of the story reported much of the story’s information as quoted from other news sources like WCCO-TV.

These stories varied very much in style of reporting and delivery. The AP version was very heartless and distant from the action. It was also very short in length and this made the story seem very inappropriate when considered against the Harlow version. The Harlow version appeared much better prepared and more personable. This version looked like Harlow made a good effort to get to know the family and to get the whole story which made this version much more appealing. It was also much more appropriate as far as length and covered all aspects of the story. Therefore, the Harlow version was really the only version to like because the AP version was simply too short and impersonal.