Nicholas Kristof leaves New York Times as he contemplates political race

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After 37 years at the New York Times as a journalist, senior editor and opinion columnist, Nicholas Kristof is leaving the paper as he plans to run for governor of Oregon, an editor said on Thursday. Times chief in a memo to staff.

Mr Kristof, 62, has been on leave from The Times since June, when he told company executives he was considering running for governor in the state he grew up in. On Tuesday, he filed a request to host a bid committee with the Oregon Secretary of State, signaling that his interest was serious.

In the e-mail to staff announcing his departure, Times opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury wrote that Mr Kristof had redefined the role of opinion columnist and assigned him “to elevate journalistic form to a new high of public service with a blend of cutting edge reporting, deep empathy and a determination to bear witness to those who struggle and suffer across the world.

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Mr Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, joined The Times in 1984 as a journalist and later became deputy editor, responsible for 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 doing journalism,” Kristof said in a statement included in the note announcing his departure. “Yet I am here, resigning – reluctantly.”

In July, Mr Kristof, who grew up on a sheep and cherry farm in Yamhill, Oregon, said in a statement that friends were recruiting him to succeed Kate Brown, a Democrat, governor of Oregon. since 2015 and prevented from racing again by state law.

“Nick is one of the best journalists of his generation,” AG Sulzberger, publisher of The Times, said in a statement. “As a journalist and columnist, he has long embodied the best values ​​of our profession. 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 issues and people that others were too comfortable to ignore.

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As part of the announcement, Ms Kingsbury noted that Mr Kristof had been on leave from his column in accordance with The Times guidelines, which prohibit participation in many aspects of public life. “Journalists have no place in the playing field of politics,” the manual says.

Mr Kristof, a former Beijing bureau chief, won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1990, for international reporting, an award he shared with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, a former journalist, for their coverage of the protests on the Tiananmen Square and the military crackdown on China. The second, in 2006, acknowledged his chronicles on the conflict in Darfur in Sudan, which the International Criminal Court qualified as genocide.

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Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn have written several books together. The most recent, “Tightrope,” published last year, examines the lives of residents of Yamhill, a once prosperous blue-collar town that declined when jobs disappeared and poverty, drug addiction and suicides were in the spotlight. rise.

“I have come to know presidents and tyrants, Nobel laureates and warlords, during my visits to 160 countries,” Kristof said in his statement Thursday. “And precisely because I have great work, great editors, and the best readers, I might be a fool to leave. But you all know how much I love Oregon, and how deeply I have been affected by the suffering of old friends there. So I reluctantly concluded that I should try not only to expose the issues, but also to see if I could fix them directly.

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