Monday, April 14, 2008

David Westphal headed westward

We announced at the McClatchy DC bureau this morning that Washington Editor David Westphal will be leaving later this fall to accompany wife Geneva Overholser to her new position in Los Angeles.

"It may seem odd to call you all together to tell you my wife has a new job," David told the assembled staff. "There's more to it than that. The job is in Los Angeles, and I'm going with her.

"I love you all, but I love Geneva more," David said.

The multi-talented Overholser, now head of the University of Missouri's Washington bureau, is set to become director of the journalism program at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California. David will serve as Executive In Residence at the school as well.

David has been with the Washington bureau about 13 years, the most challenging of which surely have been the last two, when he deftly managed the integration of McClatchy and Knight Ridder staffs while helping guide them all to ever-greater heights of journalism and world-wide reputation. The bureau has won a basketful of journalistic awards for foreign, Washington and regional coverage and, more importantly, has consistently delivered high-quality, value-added journalism for all our operations.

David plans to work in Washington at least through the political conventions in August, and perhaps longer if we can entice him. Because of that and the strong leadership in place at the bureau and McClatchy Tribune Information Services, we don't need to make any immediate decision about how to handle his departure.

David is a good friend, and that at least won't change. I look forward to having him in California, though like staffers in Washington I will miss his steady hand and superb judgment in the D.C. newsroom.

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