New Delhi: After announcing his candidacy for the Governor of Oregon, veteran New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof announced his official departure from the organisation, with the publication of his final column and newsletter to subscribers Thursday.
My big news: I'm running for governor of Oregon! Here's the full launch video, and check out https://t.co/MkRcl5axRo . It's hard to watch your home state struggle when you can make a difference on homelessness, education, jobs. Please share! Thanks!
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) October 27, 2021
In the newsletter, Kristof revealed that he had originally expressed his desire to join politics, in June to his editor, and he had been on leave before submitting his formal resignation on 14 October to avoid “any perceived conflict of interest”.
In his final column, Kristof stated three major lessons he learned over the course of his tenure and explained the reason behind his departure and decision to embark on a political journey.
“Side by side with the worst of humanity, you find the best…We largely know how to improve well-being at home and abroad. What we lack is the political will…Talent is universal, even if opportunity is not,” Kristof wrote.
Kristof named a Chinese activist and political prisoner he knew personally, as well as witnessing the courage shown by rickshaw drivers at Tiananmen Square in 1989, as inspirations for him deciding to enter politics.
“Those rickshaw drivers weren’t cynical about democracy: They were risking their lives for it. Such courage abroad makes me all the sadder to see people in this country undermining our democratic institutions. But protesters like Ren inspired me to ask if I should engage more fully in America’s democratic life,” Kristof added.
The award-winning journalist also revealed his connection to his hometown of Yamhill, Oregon, the problems the area’s health, education and political systems have been beset with, and the hurt of losing numerous old friends and classmates to “drugs, alcohol and suicide”.
“I’m bucking the journalistic impulse to stay on the sidelines because my heart aches at what classmates have endured and it feels like the right moment to move from covering problems to trying to fix them,” he said.
Kristof concluded his column with an appeal to readers to seek public service to “show responsibility for communities we love, for a country that can do better.”
Harvard graduate, Pulitzer Prize winner
A Harvard University undergraduate and Rhodes Scholar from Oxford’s Magdalen College, Nicholas Kristof began his stint with The New York Times in 1984 as a reporter on international economics beat.
Over the next few years, he rose through the ranks to become a foreign correspondent, and won his first of two Pulitzer Prizes in 1990, alongside his wife Sheryl WuDunn, for their coverage of Chinese pro-democracy protests and ground reporting from Tiananmen Square the previous year.
After becoming a columnist for the NYT Opinion section, Kristof won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for his coverage of the Darfur genocide and the Bush administration the previous year.
Nicholas Kristof will be running on the Democratic Party ticket for Governor of Oregon in the gubernatorial election scheduled for 8 November 2022. The incumbent Kate Brown, who is also a Democrat, has been Governor since February 2015 but cannot run for re-election due to term limits.