Nicholas Kristof has been writing for The New York Times for more than a quarter century and has appeared on that paper’s op-ed page since 2001, often penning articles about the struggles of people in distant parts of the world. He has even been dubbed the “moral conscience” of his generation of journalists. Less well known is his role as an innovator in journalism. In 2003, he became the first blogger for The New York Times website. Ever since then, Kristof has been a pioneer among journalists in the digital world. He’s active on Twitter and Facebook. In 2012, he even plans to venture into online gaming.
Kristof made his mark covering human rights crises around the world: the ongoing protests in Bahrain (he was tear-gassed there last month), to war in the Congo, to the genocide in Darfur (the latter won him a Pulitzer Prize). Kristof and his wife, journalist Sheryl WuDunn, won a joint Pulitzer for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989. Despite Kristof’s print pedigree, he’s not afraid to jump into social media and experiment publicly. For six years, Kristof has been bringing readers directly into his work with his annual “Win a Trip” contest. The student with the winning essay travels with Kristof on a reporting trip to a developing country and then blogs about it. The 2012 edition of the contest recently opened for applications. We spoke with Kristof about how journalism is evolving in a digital world.