After 37 years at the New York Times as a reporter, high-level editor and columnist, Nicholas Christophe is leaving the newspaper as he considers running for governor of Oregon, the Times editor-in-chief said in a note to staff on Thursday.
Christophe, 62, has been on leave from The Times since June when he told executives that he was preparing to run for governor of the state he grew up in. On Tuesday, he applied to organize a committee of candidates with the Oregon Secretary of State, a sign of the seriousness of his interest.
In an email to staff announcing his resignation, Kathleen Kingsbury, editor-in-chief of The Times, wrote that Mr. Christophe redefined his role as an opinion columnist and credited him with “taking journalism to new heights of public service with a combination of insightful reporting, deep empathy and a determination to bear witness to those who struggle and suffer around the world. “
Mr. Christoph, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, joined The Times in 1984 as a reporter and later became Deputy Editor-in-Chief responsible for Sunday issues. He started his column in 2001.
“It was my dream job, even with malaria, the Congo plane crash and occasional arrests abroad for journalistic activities,” Mr. Christophe said in a statement included in his departure note. “But here I am retiring – very reluctantly.”
In July, Mr. Christophe, who grew up on a sheep farm in Yamhill, Oregon, said in a statement that friends recruited him to replace Keith Brown, a Democrat who has been governor of Oregon since 2015 and cannot legally work again. state.
“Nick is one of the best journalists of his generation,” said A.G. Sulzberger. “As a reporter and columnist, he has long represented the best values of our profession. He is as sensitive as he is fearless. He is as open-minded as he is principled. He didn’t just testify, he made people pay attention to problems and people who were too comfortable for others to ignore. ”
As part of the announcement, Ms. Kingsbury noted that Mr. Christophe was on leave from his column in accordance with the Times guidelines, which prohibit participation in many aspects of public life. “There is no place for journalists in the political field,” the handbook says.
Mr. Christophe, the former head of the Beijing Bureau, received his first Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for international journalism, an award he shared with his wife, Cheryl WuDunn, a former reporter, for covering the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdowns by the authorities. Military of China. The second, in 2006, recognized his columns on the Darfur conflict in Sudan, which the International Criminal Court has classified as genocide.
Mr. Christoph and Ms. WooDunn have written several books together. The most recent, Kanat, published last year, explores the lives of people in Yamhill, a once thriving blue-collar town that fell into disrepair as jobs disappeared and poverty, drug addiction and suicide increased.
“I got to know presidents and tyrants, Nobel laureates and warlords by visiting 160 countries,” Christophe said in a statement Thursday. “And precisely because I have great work, outstanding editors and the best readers, I might be an idiot to leave. But you all know how much I love Oregon and how much the suffering of old friends scorched me there. So I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I should try to not only identify the problems, but also see if I can fix them directly. ”