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Daniel Pearl, 38, reporter, expectant father

Daniel Pearl, 38, reporter, expectant father

By Brian Cabell

(CNN) Daniel Pearl, the man in that now-famous but frightening image -- the photograph of a reporter with a gun to his head -- was born 38 years ago in Princeton, New Jersey.

Pearl graduated from Stanford University with a degree in communications. Journalism was his calling, and he returned to the Northeast to begin his career.

He joined the Berkshire Eagle, a daily newspaper in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1988, and won an award for a story the following year.

"He was such a sharp kid that you knew he was going places," said Greer Horner, the Eagle's former editor.

Clarence Vanto, managing editor of the Eagle, agreed. "The way he interviewed people and the way he wrote stories made it clear that he was destined for the big leagues," Vanto said.

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Pearl proved his bosses right. The Wall Street Journal hired him in 1990. Over the next decade, he would see the world, beginning with the Journal's bureau in Atlanta, Georgia, and then in postings in Washington, London, England, and in Paris, France, where he met his wife, Mariane.

"We are two people who met and fell in love because we have the same ideal, and all my life and all his life and our life together is just a big effort to try to create dialogue between civilizations," she said in a recent interview.

His next stop was Mumbai, India, better known as Bombay. Pearl arrived there in December 2000, and his most recent articles for the Journal had dealt with the increasing tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region.

He was in Karachi, Pakistan, working on a story about the Islamic militant underground when he was kidnapped January 23 by a group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. Initially, his captors claimed he was an agent for the CIA, which brought quick denials from federal officials.

"Mr. Pearl is a respected journalist," Richard Boucher, a State Department spokesman, said in an interview in late January. "He has no connection with our government."

Later, his captors claimed Pearl worked for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. His colleagues at the Journal scoffed; Pearl, they said, was a top-flight journalist, nothing more.

"This is a man who lives for three things," Paul Steiger, the Journal's managing editor, said recently. "He lives for covering stories accurately. He lives for his wife -- they have a wonderful relationship -- and he lives for his unborn child."

Mariane Pearl is about seven months pregnant with their first child.




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