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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kim Murphy Wins a Pulitzer

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Times' Moscow bureau chief, Kim Murphy, won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for what judges called "eloquent, wide-ranging" coverage of Russia.

She shared the international reporting award with Newsday correspondent Dele Olojede. Judges said his stories presented a "fresh, haunting look at Rwanda a decade after rape and genocidal slaughter had ravaged the Tutsi tribe."

Murphy's stories were driven, according to the Times' nomination, by a "restless curiosity" that took her from the resurgent jazz clubs of Moscow ("Did Stalin have a boogie soul?" she wondered) to the oil boomtown of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (a place, she wrote, that "Russia wears like a holstered gun on its eastern hip").

Murphy shifted from sweeping accounts of the political makeover taking place under President Vladimir Putin to intimate portraits such as the one she wrote about 27-year-old Zalina Dzandarova, a mother who was confronted with a "Sophie's choice" when terrorists took hundreds of people hostage at a school in the North Ossetian city of Beslan. The latter story told how guerrillas allowed Dzandarova to escape with her 2-year-old son, but only if she left her 6-year-old daughter behind. Murphy wrote a second story detailing the mother's joy and guilt after her daughter survived.

Times foreign editor Marjorie Miller called Murphy a reporter of superb instincts. "She is so incredibly dogged and so good at what she does and has what I always think of as news in her blood," Miller told colleagues at an evening reception. "She just knows where to go and how to get there ahead of everyone else."

The Los Angeles Times also won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for a series of stories that detailed how Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center provided care so poor that it sickened and imperiled some patients. The award is the most coveted of America's journalism prizes.

The Times and The Wall Street Journal were the only publications to win more than one of the annual prizes given by an independent board of journalists and presented by Columbia University.

For The Wall Street Journal, Amy Dockser Marcus took a beat reporting prize for stories about the struggles of cancer patients, their families and doctors. Joe Morgenstern won a criticism award for his film reviews. Other winners included a writer for a weekly newspaper in Portland, Oregon, for reporting on former Governor Neil Goldschmidt's affair with a 14-year-old girl; a Boston Globe reporter for stories about stem cell research; and a Sacramento Bee writer for editorials on efforts to reclaim the flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley.