Bob Herbert exits the New York Times

Joe Pompeo

The New York Times' op-ed page continues to get shaken up: Columnist Bob Herbert has resigned following a string of departures over the past few months. Editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal announced the news in a staff memo Friday.

"His columns over the years have been extraordinary, from his crucial series on the false arrests and imprisonment of dozens of innocent people in Tulia, Texas, to his profiles of soldiers wounded in combat, to his recent work on the individuals and families devastated by the Great Recession and its aftermath," Rosenthal wrote. "He was often called 'the conscience of The Times' and will take his place in the long, proud history of Times op-ed columnists."

In a separate message, Herbert said he was leaving for lengthier journalistic pursuits. "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," he wrote to staff, adding that he intends to write "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, " including an upcoming book.

Herbert's departure follows that of longtime columnist Frank Rich, who left the paper of record earlier this month to be editor-at-large at New York magazine. Prior to that, Rosenthal's deputy, David Shipley, left for Bloomberg's new opinion venture, bringing two additional Times opinion staffers with him. Separately, Mark Lotto, another editor on the op-ed page, is about to depart for GQ. Business columnist Joe Nocera, meanwhile, moved over to the opinion desk following Rich's exit.

(Damon Winter/The New York Times)