Longtime New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is leaving the paper as he weighs a run for governor of Oregon, staffers were told Thursday.
Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who grew up in Yamhill, Oregon, took a leave of absence from the Times in July while he weighed a potential bid to replace Gov. Kate Brown, a term-limited Democrat.
Kathleen Kingsbury, the Times’ opinion editor, announced his departure in a letter to staff Thursday.
Kristof, 62, has been with the Times for nearly 40 years, joining the paper in 1984 as a reporter.
As a foreign correspondent, Kristof shared a Pulitzer in 1990 with his colleague and wife, Sheryl WuDunn, for their work covering the pro-democracy movement in China and the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
He switched over from news to opinion writing as 2001 and he’s been a columnist since. In that position, he won another Pulitzer in 2006 for his coverage of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Most recently, Kristof’s investigation into illegal content on PornHub led the company to implement major changes and ensure more regulation over videos uploaded to the site.
“When Abe Rosenthal hired me in 1984 to cover international economics for The Times, I figured I would leave only by retirement,” Kristof said in a statement.
“This has been my dream job, even with malaria, a plane crash in Congo and periodic arrests abroad for committing journalism. Yet here I am, resigning — very reluctantly.
“And precisely because I have a great job, outstanding editors and the best readers, I may 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’ve reluctantly concluded that I should try not only to expose problems but also see if I can fix them directly.”
A.G. Sulzberger, the Times’ publisher, called him “one of the finest journalists of his generation.”
“As a reporter 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 said in the note to staff. “He didn’t just bear witness, he forced attention to issues and people that others were all too comfortable ignoring.
“It’s hard to overstate how much I’ll miss him as a reader and as a colleague.”
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