Supreme Discomfort

Kevin Merida

Kevin Merida
Kevin Merida, 50, is an associate editor of The Washington Post. He writes broadly for the paper, handles special editing assignments, and helps develop and coach younger staffers. He was the coordinating editor of the Post’s yearlong 2006 series, “Being a Black Man,” which is being turned into a book.

During a 28-year career in journalism, Merida’s assignments have ranged from investigating organized dogfighting to covering the U.S. invasion of Panama, from supervising coverage of the Gulf War to covering the Bush 41 White House. One of his special interests is national politics; he has covered or supervised the reporting of five previous presidential campaigns. He will be part of the Post’s political team through the 2008 campaign cycle.

Merida was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1957, and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Boston University in 1979 with a degree in journalism. He also is a graduate of the Summer Program for Minority Journalists at the University of California at Berkeley.

Merida started his career at The Milwaukee Journal in 1979, serving as a general assignments reporter and rotating city desk editor. He left The Journal in 1983 for The Dallas Morning News.

During nearly 10 years at The Morning News, Merida served as a special projects reporter, local political writer, national reporter, White House correspondent and assistant managing editor in charge of foreign and national news coverage.

Merida came to The Washington Post in 1993 to cover Congress. He chronicled the Newt Gingrich revolution, wrote about reform efforts and feisty freshmen and the culture of Capitol Hill. He joined the paper’s national political reporting team to cover the ’96 presidential campaign. In June 1997, he joined the Style section staff and developed a niche as a long-form feature writer. His subjects included George Bush’s intellect, Strom Thurmond’s age, Trent Lott’s history with race, Hillary Clinton’s internal struggles as the woman married to Bill and the coming of age of 18-year-old NBA rookie Tracy McGrady. Merida covered the 2000 presidential campaign for the Style section, and also began a bi-weekly column that year, called “Side Streets,” for the Post’s Sunday magazine. The column became syndicated.

Merida has won a number of awards, including a 2006 Vernon Jarrett Medal for feature writing, a 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University’s College of Journalism and a first place commentary prize in 2003 from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). He was named NABJ’s “Journalist of the Year” in 2000. He also was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1990 as part of a Dallas Morning News team reporting on the world’s hidden wars.

Merida has taught journalism at Marquette University and in Boston University’s Washington journalism program.

He lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife, Donna Britt. They have three sons, ages 25, 21 and 11. And a dog, Woofer.

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