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Carol J. Williams going from Foreign to California Desk

May 21, 2008 | 11:22 am

A memo from David Lauter, the Times' California editor, announcing a new assignment for reporter Carol J. Williams:

I'm very happy to announce that Carol J. Williams, one of our most experienced foreign correspondents and a reporter of exceptional tenacity and spirit, will be joining the Metro staff shortly.

CJ will take up the legal affairs beat that was until recently held by Henry Weinstein and is a worthy successor to him. Her 25 years as a correspondent -- 18 for The Times -- has brought CJ to Moscow, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Cuba, among other newsworthy but often uncomfortable datelines. She has covered wars and revolutions, the building up of market economies and the breaking down of empires. She is currently based in Miami, dividing her reporting between the Foreign and National staffs. Her assignments have included the 2004 rebellion in Haiti, the transfer of power from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul, several hurricanes and, most notably, the detention facilities and war crimes court at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

In all of those assignments, CJ has demonstrated the insight, energy and drive that have made her among the best foreign correspondents in the business. A native of Rhode Island, she graduated from high school on Guam, earned a BA from the University of Washington, then started her journalism career with newspapers in the Seattle area before going overseas with the AP, for whom she won the first of four Overseas Press Club awards in 1988. She joined The Times in 1990.

Since then, she has won three more OPC awards -- in 1991, 1997 and 2006 -- two Sigma Delta Chi citations and The Times Publisher's Prize in 1991. In 1993, she was a Pulitzer finalist for international reporting. Now, she'll bring that experience to reporting here and will be a tremendous addition to our staff. Carol will be joined in Los Angeles later this year by her husband, Ken Olsen, who is currently news editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Please join me in welcoming Carol and Ken to town and congratulating her on another great step in a distinguished career.