The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes about the underserved, victims, and heroes and his readers respond, with millions of dollars in donations.
A Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the journalist has an enormous influence on the philanthropic sector. Both large and small charities have seen huge spikes in charitable funding thanks to mentions in his column. But according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, some experts question his choice of subjects because many of the charities he writes about have not generated independent evidence of their effectiveness. Critics say Kristof should only cover charities that have been rigorously evaluated and make the most impact.
Many of the nonprofits that he has publicized have been “field tested” by Kristof, but rather than reviewing them from his desk, he visits locations – often in third world countries – to see the work in action for himself, supporters say. And he relies on evidence when possible, stating that he is “a great believer in randomized, controlled trials to prove effectiveness.” Kristof has reported on CARE, Save the Children, Heifer International, Against Malaria Foundation, the Deworm the World Initiative, the Nurse-Family Partnership, Trickle Up and Shining Hope for Communities, as well as individuals like Tom Catena, a physician and Catholic missionary who oversees a hospital in South Sudan. His litmus test: heart-tugging stories that will engage readers and motivate them to care.
To learn more about the widely read columnist’s advice on charitable giving, please see From Columnist’s Pen to Charity Coffers.