Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul E. Steiger came to Washington on Thursday to receive a top journalism award.

Instead, he mourned the death of a reporter.

Steiger, who is based in the newspaper's headquarters in New York, spoke briefly to the media following reports that missing journalist Daniel Pearl was dead.

"We're heartbroken at his death," Steiger said in front of the newspaper's office. "Danny was an outstanding colleague, a great reporter and a dear friend of many at the Journal. His murder is an act of barbarism."

Pearl was abducted after arranging to interview the leader of a radical Muslim faction with purported ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

Steiger was scheduled to receive the editor of the year award from the National Press Foundation Thursday evening during its annual awards dinner, a black-tie fund-raiser.

Following the news of Pearl's death, the newspaper said a colleague would accept the award on Steiger's behalf.