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Foreign Editor Marjorie Miller to return to writing

Here's the memo from Editor Russ Stanton: (*Update: Miller's note to her staff follows Stanton's memo)

After six years in the glass office, Marjorie Miller has decided to step down as foreign editor to return to her first love—writing. Marjorie requested such a move a year ago and was asked to hold off as we went through another newsroom restructuring. She graciously agreed to do so, but we will no longer ask her to wait.

Marjorie is one of the paper's most distinguished journalists. She worked as a Los Angeles Times correspondent for 17 years in Latin America, the Mideast and Europe before accepting the foreign editor’s job in summer 2002, just in time to prepare for coverage of the Iraq War. Our coverage of Iraq has been stellar through several "generations’’ of courageous bureau chiefs and correspondents, and our Iraq bureau boasts a staff of talented Iraqi employees that is the envy of Baghdad. Other highlights of Marjorie's tenure as foreign editor include coverage of the Palestinian intifada, Israel-Lebanon War, South Asian tsunami, death of Pope John Paul II, assassination of Benazir Bhutto and much, much more.

Also under her stewardship, Times foreign correspondents won: 

--  The 2005 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for coverage of Russia, and were three times Pulitzer finalists for Iraq (2006 and 2003) and Muslims in Europe (2004); 

--  A Scripps Howard Foundation Ernie Pyle Award (2005) for Africa coverage; 

--  Two Overseas Press Club  Awards for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and for ``Remittances: The New Foreign Aid’’  (2007); 

--  The Sigma Delta Chi and Robert F. Kennedy awards for Zimbabwe coverage (2008).

After helping us transition to a new foreign editor, Marjorie will become a senior writer.

Here's the note that Miller sent to the Times' Foreign correspondents.

Dear All,

      In a few minutes Russ will announce that I have decided to step down as Foreign Editor. I have, and it’s one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made in this job.

    As many of you know, I asked to go back to writing last summer, after five years on the job. My correspondent’s body clock told me it was time for a change. But Jim O’Shea asked me to stay on in a period of instability, so I did.

    It’s summer again and now we have a new management team in place, an Editor, Managing Editor and Executive Editor, all hard-working and committed to the Los Angeles Times. It’s time for them to pick their own Foreign Editor.

    I am not exactly sure what I’ll do next. I have asked to go back to reporting and writing. I miss it. (``What’s to miss,’’ you’re thinking, ``she’s been futzing with our stories for years.’’) Well, now I can write my own stories again and someone can futz with my copy.

    Although it is my choice, leaving Foreign is painful. I’ve spent my adult life as a foreign correspondent and editor—almost 25 years of it for this paper. Al Shuster hired me and sent me to El Salvador; Simon Li pushed me to take Jerusalem, the job that I felt turned me into a real foreign correspondent; Dean Baquet named me Foreign Editor and taught me how to run coverage.

   Some of you might recall hearing that the day I took over this job from Simon I burst into tears as I tried to give him a goodbye toast. It was the sadness at sending him off,  but also, I can now admit, the utter terror of taking over the job. Compounded, of course, by bawling in front of pretty much the entire newsroom. Great for establishing authority.

     I have learned so much since that day in summer, 2002. And I have all of you to thank for that.  Your talent, creativity and hard work made me feel I had to do my very best to represent you and to honor your work.  Above all, I feel we’re from the same tribe. You’ve got news and story-telling in your blood, and so do I. That makes us family.

    Foreign reporting is the heart and soul of the Los Angeles Times. I have been proud to be associated with some of the most heartfelt and soulful reporting in the world. And lucky.

  Thank you.

Xoxo, Marjorie

 
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