Washington Post Writer and Editor Serves as 2018 Whitfield Lecturer

Christine Emba, an opinion writer and editor for The Washington Post, visited with Collegiate Upper School students this morning as the 2018 Whitfield Lecturer. The Whitfield Lecture series, made possible by former Cougar parents Maha and Bryan Whitfield, has brought journalists, poets, singers, songwriters and novelists to campus to talk about their professions for more than a decade.
Ms. Emba, the sister of Faith Emba ‘17, graduated from Princeton University with a degree in public and international affairs. Before joining The Post, she was the Hilton Kramer Fellow in Criticism at the New Criterion. She also served as a deputy editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper.

Prior to answering questions posed by Upper School English teacher Vlastik Svab during today’s Upper Schoolassembly, Ms. Emba talked to students in Mr. Svab’s Writing for Publication class. She elaborated on being an opinion columnist (“It’s a great fit”), how she picks her topics (“I can write about anything as long as it’s relevant”) and what she loves about writing columns. (“I learn something I didn’t know before”).

At the assembly, Ms. Emba described the energy in the newsroom as major events unfold and how she converses with her editors before writing, to refine or solidify her perspective on her chosen topics. She shared with students the range of subjects she has explored, from the changing religious habits of millennials to the accusations of misconduct faced by a Supreme Court nominee.

She also shared how her love of reading began when, as a child, she would check out 15 books at a time on visits to the library with her family. She spoke of how, now as an opinion writer, she has had to get used to putting her viewpoint out there and develop a thick skin when dealing with feedback from readers.

She has grown comfortable with allowing her opinion to stand on its own, she said. “You have to push yourself to write something even though the feedback might be negative.”