Mike Tharp's Iraq coverage
Blog: Reporters' Notebook
Mike Tharp started as a copy boy for the Topeka Daily Capital when he was 16 and later worked there as a darkroom boy, sports desk assistant, intern and environmental writer. As a soldier in Vietnam, he wrote for the Army magazine "Hurricane" and was awarded a Bronze Star.
After completing course work for a master's in journalism at the University of Kansas, he was hired by the Wall Street Journal where he served as a reporter and bureau chief in Dallas, Tokyo and San Francisco. He also was a correspondent for the New York Times in Tokyo and Tokyo bureau chief for the Far Eastern Economic Review. For 14 years he was a bureau chief in Tokyo and correspondent in Los Angeles for U.S. News & World Report, for which he covered four wars in the 1990s. He taught journalism for seven years at Cal State Fullerton University, where he was awarded an M.A. in communications in 2007.
He became local news editor of the Merced Sun-Star in June 2007 and executive editor in October 2008. His work, as part of a series, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and, with other reporters, for a National Magazine Award. He won first place for local news writing in the 2007 Inland Press Association contest for his story on a Merced Marine killed in Iraq. He covered the war in Iraq for six weeks for McClatchy in summer 2008. He loves his job.