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Islander wins Pulitzer

Bainbridge resident Kim Murphy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Monday for international news reporting in Russia, where she is the Moscow bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times.

The Pulitzer Prize is the most prestigious and coveted award in the field of journalism.

“Obviously, when you’re a journalist, it doesn’t get much better than that,” Murphy said in a telephone interview Tuesday from Los Angeles, where she and her colleagues celebrated the paper’s two Pulitzers. “I’m glad it’s over. It’s a little too traumatic.”

After some champagne Monday evening, she is ready to get back to work.

Murphy, a veteran news reporter and longtime island resident, was assigned to the Moscow bureau in July 2003.

Her award-winning stories covered a vast range of topics, from cultural and economic changes under the presidency of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s struggle with terrorism, to its jazz scene and intimate portraits of Russian life and people.

“Russia is this huge country, so there’s just an amazing variety of stories to do,” said Murphy, who, when she is not on Bainbridge, resides in Moscow with her husband Ilija Jancovic and son Sasha, 10, and daughter Annabel, 8.

Murphy said her favorite assignment in Russia involved tracking bears in Kamchatka, a remote region on the Bering Sea.

“It reminded me of some of my work in the Northwest, looking for grizzlies in the Bitteroot Mountains of Montana,” said Murphy, the Times’ Northwest bureau chief for several years.

Asked if winning the biggest prize in journalism might affect her future work, Murphy said, “yes and no. I’m the kind of person who focuses on the next story, and after meeting with my editors this morning, I am excited about my next project. I usually take life one day at a time. You stay saner that way.”

Los Angeles Times editor Marjorie Miller lauded Murphy as a reporter with superb journalistic instincts.

“She is incredibly dogged and so good at what she does and has what I always think of as news in her blood,” Miller said in Tuesday’s edition of the LA Times. “She just knows where to go and how to get there ahead of everyone else.”

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