First Frank Rich, Now Bob Herbert: Another Columnist Exits NY Times

Columnist had at the paper for almost 20 years; follows departure of fellow op-ed writer Frank Rich

Another longtime columnist is leaving the New York Times.

The paper announced on Friday that Bob Herbert, a writer for its op-ed page, is leaving after nearly 20 years.

Herbert's exit comes on the heels of Frank Rich's departure earlier this month.

Also read: Rich on Leaving the Times: 'I Was Incredibly Itchy'

Like Rich, Hebert cited a desire to try something new and — also like Rich — the Times' "strict" word count as part of his reason for leaving.

“The deadlines and demands were a useful discipline, but for some time now I have grown eager to move beyond the constriction of the column format, with its rigid 800-word limit, in favor of broader and more versatile efforts,” Herbert said in making the announcement.

“So I am leaving The New York Times and the rewards and rigors of daily journalism with the intent of writing more expansively and more aggressively about the injustices visited on working people, the poor and the many others in our society who find themselves on the wrong side of power.”

The Times did not name a replacement for Herbert.

“He was often called ‘the conscience of The Times,’” Times op-ed editor Andrew Rosenthal wrote in a memo to staffers. “We will miss him and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Herbert would not disclose what that new endeavor is, describing it “soon-to-be-announced effort to help bolster progressive journalism.”

His last column will appear on Saturday, the Times said.