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I was apparently the first blogger for The New York Times, most recently using this “on the ground” space for my own ruminations and those of others. But this technology platform is no longer going to be maintained, and we’ve decided that the world has moved on from blogs — so this is the last post here.
You are, however, still stuck with my writing. My columns and other posts that in the past would have been on the blog will be at and you can also see my work through my email newsletter, available at .
Thanks for reading this blog all these years, and I’ll look forward to continuing the interactions elsewhere on the site. We adapt, we experiment, we evolve, but it’s all journalism.
Nov 22 3:44 pm Nov 22 3:44 pmPhoto Credit Audrey Hall
Nicholas Kristof: My tutor on Twitter has been Liriel Higa (), who works on social media for The New York Times Opinion section. I asked her to write this quick “How to Tweet” guide for the public. Liriel, a former nationally ranked gymnast, was a congressional reporter early in her career, then oversaw social media for the Half the Sky movement, and finally joined the Times in 2014 and has been with us since. Here’s her guide to how to make Twitter work for you.
It’s easy to hate on Twitter. It recently ditched its trim 140-character identity to become (to the naysayers) a bloated 280 characters. It , but it , leaving the initial impression it had to do with her speaking out about Harvey Weinstein. It enabled to attack Leslie Jones.
But for all its flaws, Twitter is where so much public debate happens, much of it fascinating. It’s where you can actually reach beyond your bubble. It’s where you can leapfrog publicists and aides and interact with your idols. Here are my suggestions for how you should use it — and why it’s worthwhile.
Start by listening. There’s a misconception that the main use of Twitter is for self-promotion. Unless you’re , who has tweeted 10 times and has 15.2 million followers, chances are, you won’t have tons of followers when you’re starting out. Thoughtful tweeting certainly improves the platform as a whole, but you don’t need any followers to mine Twitter for useful information.
Don’t just follow people you personally know. Follow people who are experts in your fields of interest. Maybe you like comedy, in which case Aparna Nancherla () or Stephen Colbert () are must follows. If you’re a fan of cooking, try the chef Yotam Ottolenghi () for gorgeous food photos or Ruth Reichl (), the former editor of Gourmet, for her scene-setting morning poems. To learn more about the universe, follow Neil deGrasse Tyson (). If you want insights on Sweden, turns over the account to a new Swede each week. Regardless of your political persuasion, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska () has a terrific Twitter feed, especially for a politician — authentic and humorous, while Democratic Sen. Cory Booker () is great about replying to people. For those following the investigation of Russian meddling into the election, Preet Bharara (), Sally Yates () and Benjamin Wittes () are ones to watch. Check out who they’re following and retweeting for more ideas of where to go from there.
Nov 17 2:14 pm Nov 17 2:14 pmVideo
Win a Trip
The Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof invites students to enter a contest for an international reporting trip in 2018.By NICHOLAS KRISTOF on Publish Date November 30, 2016.
I’m delighted to invite university students to apply for my 2018 win-a-trip contest. I’ve been holding these contests since 2006, and taking the winner along with me on a reporting trip to cover global poverty and social justice issues. My aim is to generate interest in neglected global issues and get more people writing about them.
The winner will write pieces for me on the New York Times website. HBO did a documentary called “Reporter” based on my 2007 win-a-trip journey to Congo; it’s on Amazon and iTunes if you want to see what you’re getting yourself in for. The contest begins immediately and you must apply by Sunday, Dec. 10th, 2017.
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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
- Sponsor: The 2018 Win a Trip with Nick Contest (the “Contest”) is sponsored by The New York Times Company, a New York corporation with principal offices at 620 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 (“Sponsor”).
- Contest Description: The Contest is a skill-based competition in which participants will compete to be selected as author of the top essay, as selected by Sponsor and the Center for Global Development (“CGD”) (together with Sponsor, the “Contest Entities”). The author of the winning entry (the “Winner”) will be awarded the opportunity to travel on a reporting trip as the guest of Nick Kristof. Participants will be invited to submit essays, which will be voted on and rated by the Contest Entities. The winner will also have an opportunity to submit a regular report from the trip on NYTimes.com.
Sep 26 12:23 pm Sep 26 12:23 pmPhoto Dan Weeks and Sindiso Mnisi Weeks are parents to two biracial kids in New Hampshire and were horrified to learn about a recent attempted lynching in their state.Credit Courtesy of the Weeks Family
In recent days, we have read gut-wrenching accounts of an alleged attack on an 8-year-old biracial boy in Claremont, New Hampshire. Like the local police, who did not issue any public statements until more than a week after the incident, under pressure from the boy’s family, state media have also been circumspect in their coverage. Nowhere in the reporting by top state media outlets on this tragic event does the word “lynching” occur.
Sadly, it should.
As parents of a young biracial boy and girl in New Hampshire, we shudder to say the word and consider its implications for the state we love. Yet as an American and South African couple, we have read enough American history and experienced enough of South Africa’s past under apartheid to arrive at the conviction that past is ever prologue unless we stare it in the face and publicly exclaim, “Enough!”
Sep 15 3:28 pm Sep 15 3:28 pm
Shall I compare thee to a Trump?
Well, perhaps not. But I would like to invite you to submit entries to a new poetry contest meant to capture the ethos of our times in verse. And if you can make us feel better, or laugh, or think more deeply, so much the better.
Why poetry? So many trees have died to fuel debates about our president — and after all this time, it’s not clear how much there is to say that is new. So let’s try to examine this historical moment through a new prism, and I hope to publish the winners in my column in the fall.
Over the years I’ve occasionally held poetry contests, inviting readers to submit their own poems about the , about and so on, and early this year I held a . The result was a torrent of submissions that led to publication of a book of such poems, “.” I can’t promise that a book will come out of this second contest, but I have found a classy partner: , the oldest poetry organization in the country. The Poetry Society will review entries and select finalists; a huge thanks to the society and its executive director, Alice Quinn.
My column is only 800 words, and I plan to weave in bits of several different poems, so there’s an advantage to shorter entries. No entry can be more than 22 lines. They can rhyme or not and can be haiku or sonnets or limericks or any other form — just no epics.
One caution: The Times can’t publish vulgarities and profanities. The poems must be your work, and your submission means that you agree to let me publish them or excerpt them in The Times. We are looking for poems that have not been previously published. Also, I’d like to make clear that whatever my politics, I welcome poems that defend President Trump or target the press. If you think we in the media are being unfair to a great president, rise to his defense in verse.
I plan to keep the contest open until Oct. 8, but don’t procrastinate. Each person can enter up to three poems. To enter, email your poems to .
Jul 26 10:00 am Jul 26 10:00 amPhoto Activists dressed in bridal gowns and veils staged a “chain-in” in June to protest child marriage in New Jersey.Credit Kyle Oleary
State legislators in the U.S. can no longer plead ignorance about child marriage in America. Not now that research shows an estimated , at least as young as 10, were married in the United States between 2000 and 2010. National and international news outlets are .
Yet while several states have moved in recent months to strengthen their laws and raise their marriage age, legal loopholes in all 50 states still allow marriage before 18 – and many state legislators remain unconvinced that they need to end child marriage. Some legislators continue to insist that pregnant girls should marry, despite highly publicized cases of such girls who were forced to marry their own rapists and despite pregnant teenage girls have better long-term outcomes if they don’t marry.
Jul 25 12:03 pm Jul 25 12:03 pmPhoto Abel, center, laughs with Ashley as Audrey rows the boat in a trajectory to hit the fountain at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg in 2017.Credit Peter Roybal
The last time you may have read about Abel Moyo, he was a gangly 17-year-old orphan, and the , living in rural Zimbabwe. Back then, , Abel walked 9 miles to high school, which teachers let him attend even though he could not afford the school fees. When he came home, he cooked mush for the younger kids (ranging in age from 8 to 11), dispensing comfort and discipline as the surrogate father, and did his homework by firelight. The family was effectively two families that came to live together after their parents had died of AIDS and other causes — a not uncommon story in Zimbabwe.Photo Abel, left, with his family in 2010.Credit Nicholas Kristof
Nick Kristof, who wrote about him, had been impressed by Abel’s determination and smarts — he was top of his class — and noted that Abel longed for a bicycle so he could get home faster. After the column ran, World Bicycle Relief to Abel and other students in his area.Photo Abel with his new bike in 2010.Credit Photo courtesy World Bicycle Relief.
When I visited Zimbabwe this spring for vacation, I wanted to try to meet up with Abel, since I was going to be passing by the small town where he lived, Dinde, a couple hours from Victoria Falls. But as it turned out, Abel no longer lived there — or even in Zimbabwe.
With the help of World Bicycle Relief, I was able to make contact with Abel, who moved to South Africa in 2012, and now lives in a shantytown in Lanseria, northwest of Johannesburg. His 15-year-old nephew, Ashley, lives with him. Half an hour away on foot in a different shantytown is Ashley’s twin, Audrey, who lives with her mom, Abel’s older sister.Photo Abel, right, shares this room with Ashley in Lanseria, South Africa. There is no electricity, so they use candlelight.Credit Liriel Higa
There are some clear advantages to life in South Africa — Audrey, who is the head girl in her class, says that school is free, and she prefers it to Zimbabwe. Wandering elephants aren’t an issue in the city, either — when I mentioned that a park ranger had been killed recently in Krueger National Park, elsewhere in South Africa, Abel told me that growing up, one of his friends had been trampled to death by an elephant while walking to school in Dinde.
Jul 13 4:42 pm Jul 13 4:42 pmPhoto Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Cory Booker introduce the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act at the Capitol.Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
The , introduced on Tuesday by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), is a bold move to improve the care and treatment of the nearly 13,000 female inmates locked up in federal prisons. Among the bill’s critical provisions, it would ban shackling pregnant women or placing them in solitary confinement. And it would help incarcerated mothers maintain close ties to their children by easing visitation restrictions and allowing for free phone calls.
It also acknowledges that for those behind bars, there are unnecessary hurdles to coping with menstruation and managing periods in a healthy and hygienic way. The bill includes a directive to distribute quality pads and tampons to inmates, free of charge.
Jul 13 10:59 am Jul 13 10:59 amPhoto A man in front of a poster of Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo in 2010.Credit Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Mandela of our age is dead, and Liu Xiaobo will at least now find peace after decades of suffering outrageous mistreatment by the Chinese authorities.
Liu, 61, is the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in custody since the Nazi era, and his death is an indictment of China’s brutal treatment of one of the great figures of modern times.
Even as Liu was dying of cancer, China refused to allow Liu to travel for treatment that might have saved his life. In a move that felt crass and disgusting, the Chinese authorities filmed the dying Liu without his consent to make propaganda films falsely depicting merciful treatment of him.
In the coming weeks, China will probably try to dispose of Liu’s remains in a way that will prevent his grave from becoming a democratic pilgrimage spot. The authorities no doubt will attempt to bully and threaten Liu’s brave widow, Liu Xia, and perhaps confine her indefinitely under house arrest to keep her silent.
Will Western leaders speak up for her? I fear not, any more than they forcefully spoke up for Liu Xiaobo himself.
If the way Liu died is an indictment of China’s repression, it also highlights the cravenness of Western leaders who were too cowed to raise his case in a meaningful manner. President Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hamburg at the G-20- summit and did not even let the name Liu Xiaobo pass his lips. For shame, all around.
Liu Xiaobo died with dignity and honor, true to his principles. Everybody else, not so much.
Some day after democracy has come to China, there will be a memorial in Tiananmen Square to Liu. There will never be a memorial there in free China to Xi, who has overseen a harsh crackdown on dissent on his watch, leaving China substantially less free.
For those of you who don’t know Liu, a few glimpses of him:
Jul 11 12:08 pm Jul 11 12:08 pmPhoto Donald Trump Jr., informed of a covert Russian effort to use espionage to interfere with the U.S. election, embraced it.Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
The astonishing email just released by Donald Trump Jr., setting up the meeting last year with a Russian lawyer, is devastating for the White House. Above all, it underscores that the Trump family knew of a secret Russian campaign to interfere in the American election — and embraced it.
Read , but here’s the key paragraph: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Jul 11 10:00 am Jul 11 10:00 amPhoto Reporting in Liberia.Credit
Aneri Pattani, a freshly minted graduate of Northeastern University, is the winner of Nicholas Kristof’s annual win-a-trip contest. She previously wrote about and a .
When Nick Kristof announced back in February that I had won his Win-A-Trip contest, the first thing most of my friends said to me was congratulations, almost immediately followed by requests for the inside take on how a Times columnist gathers material.
I didn’t end up getting them autographs (I tried to keep things classy on the trip), but I did come away with some insights on how to be a better journalist in the field. I hope that’ll be good enough! Here are my top five takeaways:
Jul 10 10:00 am Jul 10 10:00 amPhoto Credit Monique Jaques for The New York Times
Tanan Seekey lives just a short walk from the Atlantic Ocean. Salty breezes will sometimes waft into her home in the West Point neighborhood of Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia. She’s lived here her whole life – 37 years, yet she’s never been to the beach.
It’s too far for her to walk, given her condition.Photo Credit Monique Jaques for The New York Times
Tanan, who goes by the nickname Tani, has clubfoot. It’s a birth defect in which one or both feet are bent inward at odd angles, making it difficult to walk. She rarely leaves her house because of it, and when she does, she drags plastic flip-flops along by her twisted toes.
Jul 7 11:01 am Jul 7 11:01 amPhoto Russian President Vladimir Putin And President Trump met in Hamburg, Germany.Credit Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
In Hamburg, Germany, President Trump is thundering against the free press that covers him, while getting lovey-dovey with the leader of a country that attacked American and French elections, that invaded Ukraine, that helped slaughter civilians in Syria, that was involved in shooting down a civilian airliner over Ukraine, that murders critics, and that brutalizes gay people in Chechnya.
I can’t help thinking: If only Trump confronted Vladimir Putin with half the energy with which he denounces CNN and other news organizations!
A few takeaways from Trump’s European visit so far:
Jul 6 10:00 am Jul 6 10:00 amPhoto Jackson Barlea has Buruli ulcer, a debilitating disease caused by bacteria from the same family as tuberculosis and leprosy.Credit Nicholas Kristof
Aneri Pattani, a freshly minted graduate of Northeastern University, is the winner of Nicholas Kristof’s annual win-a-trip contest. She previously wrote about the and .
When I met Jackson Barlea, his entire left leg, from thigh to ankle, was raw and red. The skin had been eaten away by a little-known variety of bacteria. At one point, you could see straight through to the bone, a nurse told me.
It was one of the most painful conditions I have ever seen. Even as the nurses tenderly removed the dressing and reapplied gauze, I winced. I thought about the time I had fallen off my bike as a kid and scraped my knee raw. I cried the whole time my mom applied antiseptic.
Yet Jackson, 18, did not flinch. He had to go through this process every day.