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Congdon Heiress Arrested in Arizona

Marjorie Congdon Hagen, the heiress to the Congdon family fortune, was arrested in Arizona and charged with theft, forgery, computer tampering and fraud. Hagen, 74, first ran into trouble with the law when her adoptive mother, Elisabeth Congdon of the Congdon mining family in Duluth, was killed in 1977. Details on her arrest were not available in any of the stories I found on this incident, but the difference between Star Tribune coverage and Associated Press coverage was significant-enough to merit writing about.

The Associated Press story was datelined in Tucson, Arizona, and was probably written by a person with only a passing knowledge of the events of the Congdon murder, if any at all before writing the story. The Star Tribune story, in addition to the more lively writing, benefited from the fact that it was able to work the Congdon-family history into the story in a way that made it more relevant to the local community. This person's identity and past is clearly the most important aspect of the story, and the Star Tribune did a good job of making this apparent. One of the possible places to find information on this story if you were a reporter would be the book Glensheen's Daughter, which details Marjorie Congdon Hagan's life and could provide the kind of details that made the Star Trib story so much better than the AP one. While the Star Tribune writer was able to use the fact that anyone reading the Star Tribune would probably know a bit about the Congdon murders, a resource like this book could have probably helped the AP writer out.

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