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MINOT - Kim Murphy, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize this year for international reporting, is known here as an outstanding student and a talented writer.

Murphy, who worked at the Minot Daily News from 1978 to 1980, is currently the Moscow Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times. She won the Pulitzer for her reporting on Russia.

Minot resident George Slanger, one of Murphy's instructors at Minot State University and a colleague at The Daily News, said he has followed her career.

"Kim was just an outstanding student," Slanger said. "She was one who I stayed in touch with and became good friends. She was very good academically, socially and very active in the (MSU) English Club."

Murphy could process a lot of information quickly and see into the heart of a story, Slanger said.

"I remember watching her sit down in front of her typewriter back in those days, in sort of a Zen-like state to shape a story in her mind, and then watch her fingers start flying, and out would come a nearly flawless story in a short time," Slanger said. "We were all thrilled when she went to the Times. And now that she's won a Pulitzer, we're jubilant to maybe have played a small part in her success.

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"Students like Kim you didn't need to have to do anything with," Slanger said. "You basically just got out of her way. She was just incredibly talented and we're all very thrilled for her."

The Los Angeles Times also won the public service award for a series exposing medical dangers at an inner-city hospital.

"Russia remains a very powerful country with a strong sense of identity," Murphy said after the Pulitzer announcement. "It's a country that needs to be taken very seriously, first in terms of its nuclear potential, in terms of its role as one of the world's major suppliers of oil and gas and in terms of its imperial past."

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