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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Staff writer remembers kidnapped journalist, former intern Staff writer remembers kidnapped journalist, former intern (February 06, 2002)

Reporter was a popular member of Weekly's staff

by Daniel Moreau

Palo Alto Weekly senior staff writer Don Kazak clearly remembers kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl when he was an intern at the Weekly in the spring of 1984.

"We had two to three interns working for us every three to four months. That's a lot of interns over the years. But Danny stood out. It was clear that he was going to be a star," said Kazak who was editor of the Weekly at the time of Pearl's internship.

As soon as she learned about Pearl's abduction, former Weekly staff writer Kathleen Donnelly, who now freelances in Seattle, immediately e-mailed Weekly Assistant Editor Carol Blitzer.

"That's our Danny," the message read.

Kazak distinctly remembers Pearl -- who was known around the office as "Danny" -- as "very likable, always smiling and very popular."

"He was just doing his job and now he's in harm's way," Kazak said of the kidnapping. "It's a real shock to us all."

As an intern, Pearl's many reporting duties included writing articles, obituaries and the weekly police roundup, as well as collecting weather data and financial quotes.

Pearl, Stanford class of 1985, has a wife who is expecting their first child in May.

Besides the Palo Alto Weekly, Pearl interned for the Indianapolis Star shortly after graduation. He later worked for The North Adams Transcript, The Springfield Union News in Massachusetts, The Berkshire Eagle, and The San Francisco Chronicle before joining The Wall Street Journal in 1990.

Since December 2000, he has been stationed in the Bombay bureau of The Wall Street Journal.

Pearl, who has been missing since the night of Wednesday, Jan. 23, is being held hostage by a Pakistani militant group called "The Nation Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani sovereignty." In exchange for Pearl's life, the kidnappers are demanding the release of several Pakistanis detained during the United States' raid on terrorism.

At the time of his abduction, Pearl, who was unaccompanied, was on his way to interview the leader of a militant Islamic organization in connection with airplane shoe-bomber Richard Reid.

The kidnappers, who accuse Pearl of being a CIA agent, threatened to kill him last Wednesday unless their demands were met. On Thursday, they granted him a 24-hour reprieve. As of Monday, there were conflicting reports about Pearl's status.

E-mail Daniel Moreau at [email protected]


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