After 37 years with The New York Times as a reporter, high-level editor and opinion columnist, Nicholas Kristof is leaving the paper because he is considering running for governor of Oregon, a top editor of the Times said in a note to staff on Thursday.
Mr Kristof, 62, has been on leave from The Times since June, when he told business leaders he was about to become governor of the state where he grew up. On Tuesday he has archived to organize a nominees committee with the Oregon Secretary of State, indicating that his interest was serious.
In the e-mail to staff announcing his departure, Kathleen Kingsbury, The Times editor-in-chief, wrote that Mr. Kristof had redefined the role of opinion columnist and credited him with “taking journalism to a new level of public service with a blend of sharp reporting, deep empathy and a determination to bear witness to those who struggle and suffer over the whole world.”
Mr. Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, joined The Times in 1984 as a reporter and later became associate managing editor with responsibility for the Sunday editions. He started his column in 2001.
“This has been my dream job, even with malaria, a plane crash in Congo and periodic arrests abroad for journalism,” said Mr. Kristof in a statement accompanying the note announcing his departure. “Yet here I am, resigning – very reluctantly.”
In July, Mr Kristof, who grew up on a sheep and cherry farm in Yamhill, Oregon, said in a statement that friends recruited him to succeed Kate Brown, a Democrat, who has served as Oregon’s governor since 2015 and has been prevented from running again. run through state law.
“Nick is one of the best journalists of his generation,” The Times publisher AG Sulzberger said in a statement. “As a reporter and columnist, he embodies the best values of our profession for a long time. He is as empathetic as he is fearless. He is as open-minded as he is principled. He didn’t just testify, he drew attention to things and people that others too easily ignored.”
As part of the announcement, Ms Kingsbury noted that Mr Kristof was on leave of absence from his column in accordance with the Times’ guidelines, which prohibit participation in many aspects of public life. “Journalists have no place on the playing fields of politics,” the handbook states.
Kristof, a former Beijing bureau chief, won his first Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1990, an award he shared with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, a former reporter, for their coverage of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the crackdown on action of the Chinese army. The second, in 2006, recognized his columns about the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur, which has been classified as genocide by the International Criminal Court.
Mr Kristof and Ms WuDunn have written several books together. The most recent ‘Tightrope’, published last year, examines the lives of people in Yamhill, a once prosperous working class town that fell into decline as jobs disappeared and poverty, drug addiction and suicides rose.
“I have met presidents and tyrants, Nobel laureates and warlords during my visits to 160 countries,” Kristof said in his statement on Thursday. “And it is precisely because I have a great job, excellent editors and the best readers that I might be an idiot to leave. But you all know how much I love Oregon, and how much I’ve been seared by the suffering of old friends there. So I have reluctantly concluded that I should not only try to bring problems to light, but also see if I can solve them right away.”