Kristof Suggests “‘Student Driver’ Sign” On Some Kristof Columns

Columnist Nicholas Kristof is doing the “Talk to the [New York] Times” reader Q&A this week.

One reader asks why there hasn’t been more news about the two American journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, being held in North Korea. In his response, Kristof

wonder[s] if Ling and Lee weren’t lured across into North Korea by their fixer or by the human trafficker they supposedly were going to interview…I’ve been to that area along the Tumen River where they were captured three times over the years, and there are some very shady people working there in connivance with North Korean border guards.

Answering the old what do you read question, Kristof says his “news diet” consists of the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal (with “particular attention to the… editorial page” ), The Financial Times, The Washington Post online,, his Twitter feeds, The Economist, The New Yorker, Time, and Newsweek. And he “wake[s] up to NPR.” (Aren’t you obligated to cop to at least one “guilty pleasure” or “less serious” read when answering this? Maybe that’s Time and Newsweek ?)

In response to a question about the vast array of topics Kristof covers, Kristof writes that “the down side” of having such a wide subject range is “you’re more likely to say something silly,” and while there are some topics, like China and North Korea, that he feels “very comfortable with,” when he writes about new topics “there still should be a ‘student driver’ sign over my column.”

(What if the Times began running warning signs above columnists’ work? Imagine the possibilities…)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.