A memo to the newsroom from Times Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin:
It’s with a mixture of emotions that we announce a change in the leadership of the national staff.
Roger Smith, one of the finest editors and colleagues ever to walk these halls, has decided to call it a career at the Los Angeles Times after 36 years.
He will be succeeded by Kim Murphy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning national and foreign correspondent now serving as our Seattle bureau chief.
The tributes to Roger will soon begin to flow. There isn’t enough space here even to begin summing up what he has meant to The Times. We’ll leave that for another day. For now, suffice it to say that we are beyond grateful for his service, and for his friendship.
It’s hard to imagine a worthier successor than Kim, or one better-equipped to maintain the highest standards of national reporting as we focus more of our energies on the online report. Her career can be summed up simply: She’s done it all, and done it brilliantly.
Kim joined The Times in 1983 as a general assignment reporter for the Orange County edition. Six years later, she began the first of a string of national and foreign assignments. She covered the Pacific Northwest from Seattle. She reported on the Middle East from Cairo. She served as bureau chief in Moscow, and later in London, before returning stateside for a second tour in Seattle.
Along the way, she reported from the Balkans, Afghanistan and the scenes of many disasters, natural and man-made, including in recent years the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre, the Sikh temple shootings in Wisconsin and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In 2005, Kim won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for what the judges described as “her eloquent, wide-ranging coverage of Russia’s struggle to cope with terrorism, improve the economy and make democracy work.”
Kim’s first journalism job was at the North Biloxian, in Mississippi, where she was assistant editor. She later worked at the Minot (N.D.) Daily News and the Orange County Register, where she was a reporter and an assistant metro editor.
She is a graduate of Minot State University, where she studied English literature. She and her husband, Ilija, have two children.
Roger will hand off his responsibilities to Kim over the next few weeks.
Follow the Readers' Rep on Twitter and Google+