Something to read: Nicholas Kristof

I was raised on a pretty steady diet of the New York Times, so I kind of assumed that everyone had heard of Nicholas Kristof. However, I’ve brought up his name a couple of times in the last week in regards to the current events in Egypt, and people don’t seem to have heard of him. So I thought I would share:

(South Sudan) Kristof pulls out this picture whenever possible. Yes, that is George Clooney. Yes, they are lying on a bed. No. I have no idea why.

Nicholas Kristof (New York Time’s Profile)(Blog)

Kristoff has been a columnist for the NYTs since 2001. You can read his biography on the website for yourself. I like him because of his focus: he writes about development and crisis from a very human perspective. He is also very aware of the journalistic process and will often comment on how that has affected the story. Lately he has started soliciting advice and comments from his followers on Facebook.

My favorite columns are the ones on Africa. I find it is often difficult to find good coverage on events in Sub-Saharan Africa, and he offers interesting insights.

I don’t agree with everything he says. He is a big fan of do-it-yourself-development (e.g., inexperienced people going overseas for a week or two and building a school or teaching English), which I am personally wary of. But he makes an interesting case and will often draw focus to horrifying/fascinating issues.

Here are some column’s to check out:

1. D.I.Y. Foreign Aid Revolution

2.Win a Trip 2011— I’ve always wanted to apply, but obviously I am not an American Resident.

3. Militants, Women and Tahir Square

4.The World Capital of Killing

This past year Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, wrote a book called “Half the Sky.” The book chronicles the role of women in the world and the failure of the international community to protect women. I read the book while interning at a school in Malawi. The founder of the school was a huge Kristof fan.

My dad, not surprisingly, gave me the book for Christmas.
Happy reading!

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Genevieve is mildly opposed to writing in the third person about herself, as it sounds rather pretentious and forced. But she will prevail. She likes books and curry and opera and that feeling you get when a professor compliments your writing/thinking etc. She is double majoring in English Honours and International Relations, which sometimes feels like the fast track to a nervous breakdown, but she loves it. She was raised internationally, and has no idea where she is 'from', but currently divides her time between Shanghai, Vancouver and the ever exotic Bellingham, Washington. She is somewhat intimidated by her fellow writers on Terry*, but she tries. If you like her, or hate her, or just want to read more, she also keeps a personal rant--er, blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/genevieve/.

2 Responses to “Something to read: Nicholas Kristof”

  1. Shawn

    Hi Genevieve,

    A number of the blogs I follow are quite critical of Kristof (I like that alliteration).

    The main criticism seems to be that he tends to portray people in developing countries as victims and people from the West as saviours.

    Here’s a link to one such article:

    http://africasacountry.com/2010/07/12/the-nicholas-kristof/

    I have read some of his work, but would be interested to here what you think.

  2. Genevieve

    I would say he varies. I have definitely felt the same about some of his articles (I think that one was in reference to the DIY development, which–as I mentioned–I find rather suspect as well).

    I think what he tries to do often is capture the human side of the story, and sometimes this descends into pity, which leaves his subject looking like a victim.

    On the other hand, he often draws attention to atrocities that are not being covered in the main stream media, which I think is admirable.

    Often I think he is writing for a less well informed audience, and trying to interest them in the stories he is telling.

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