Susan Kamb, who took over as our chief of correspondents earlier this month, is the right woman for the right job. With her varied experience in journalism—she spent five years at The Sacramento Bee and a year with The Washington Post in addition to the six years she has logged as a reporter and editor at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED—Kamb is well suited to the task of communicating with our corps of stringers around the U.S. and the world.
The stringers, most of whom work for newspapers, cover developments in their areas for us. With the help of deputy chief of correspondents Robin Douglas and news-desk assistants Beth Birnbaum and Marsha Haber, Kamb directs the flow of queries and responses between the editors and writers in New York and the stringers in the field. "I do think my newspaper experience helps," says Kamb. "I think I understand what correspondents are going through, what it's like to file under deadline, and how they sometimes feel as if they're out there all alone."
We also benefit from Kamb's knack for organization. One of her favorite pastimes is rearranging her Manhattan apartment. She gets everything just so; several weeks later it's time to start the process again. Her office desk is immaculate. No piece of paper lingers out of place for long. That's particularly impressive for someone running a department that handles hundreds of queries and stringer files every week.
A native of Los Angeles, Kamb was an accomplished equestrian as a teenager and took part in track and tennis at Santa Monica High School. She turned to spectating when she went to UCLA, where a student ID and a quarter got her in to see the Bill Walton-led Bruins. A Southern Californian to the core, she frequently gets back to Malibu to visit her mother, Marie, who sells real estate for Merrill Lynch, and her father, Karl, a retired screenwriter whose credits include The Kid from Texas with Audie Murphy and Whispering Smith with Alan Ladd and Robert Preston.
Nowadays Kamb's chief sporting endeavor is playing short field for the Corner Bistro softball team of the New York Show Business League. Kamb has also taken up golf, although she is hampered by playing with her father's 50-year-old Bobby Jones irons, Calamity Jane putter and Walter Hagen persimmon woods without inserts. The clubs are historically noteworthy but a tad large for the 4'11½" Kamb.
As Kamb has already discovered, running her department can be a workout, too. "The newsbureau must be able to quickly reach, at any time of day or night, stringers anywhere in the country or abroad," she says. "It can be a little nerve-racking at times, but I enjoy it."
Kamb knows where to get the news.