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Survivor of 17 Story Fall is Lucky

After Joshua Hanson, 29, fell through a 17th story window of a downtown Minneapolis hotel last Friday and is living to tell the tale. He underwent surgery on Monday and had a metal rod put in his leg. He is extremely lucky to not have any head, spinal or back injuries. Hanson, who owns a bar in Blair, Wisc., was in town for the 22nd annual Minnesota Operators of Music and Amusements dart tournament at the Hyatt Regency. After a night of drinking, he accidentally fell through a window on the 17th floor before landing on an awning above the ground.

The Pioneer Press investigated the velocity of his fall with a physics professor at the University of Minnesota, who estimated his speed to be around 69 mph upon impact. The professor also noted that the awning that broke his fall acted like an airbag in a car, probably saving his life.

While the Press focused much of the article on the physics of the incident, the Star Tribune interviewed numerous family and friends of Hanson, and investigated the structure of the building through which he fell. His condition and what will be done to the building to prevent future incidents took up the bulk of the story.

The challenge for the reporters of this story was finding a unique angle. The basics of the story are obvious, but both papers took a different approach for the rest of the story.

Although the Press' article injected some humor into the issue with the "math stuff" of determining the physics of the fall, I thought it bordered on corny and a little distracting to what the important part of the story was.