Best-selling author to address NU-Q’s graduating class

March 19, 2017

Author of a critically-acclaimed new book and a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, Derek Thompson, will be this year’s graduation speaker at Northwestern University in Qatar.

Thompson, who is a graduate of Northwestern University, is the author of Hit Makers: the Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction – a best-selling book that discusses how content goes viral in today’s crowded media environment.  

“Each year, we select a graduation speaker of distinction and achievement, who is a role model as well. As a Northwestern alumnus, Derek represents the best of the new digital generation who began his career as a blogger, migrated to a major magazine and broadcast outlets—and now has produced a major book. Telling your stories across virtually all of the media platforms is the hallmark of contemporary journalism,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO.

Thompson, who has been described as one of the brightest new voices in the world of American journalism, writes about economics, labor markets, and the media at The Atlantic, one of the most respected magazines in the U.S.

His 2016 cover story, “A World Without Work,” Thompson probed the future of technology and employment. He has also produced scores of major stories on the millennial generation and other topics. His most recent article for the magazine is “The Mysterious Disappearance of Candidate Trump.” 

Thompson is also a weekly contributor to “Here and Now,” a radio news program aired over National Public Radio that reaches an estimated 4.5 million weekly listeners. His achievements and insights have received recognition from Forbes and Inc. magazines’ “30 Under 30” lists and Timemagazine’s roster of “140 Best Twitter Feeds.” 

Thompson graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in 2008 with a triple major in journalism, political science, and legal studies. As an undergraduate, he wrote for two campus publications, The Daily Northwestern and North by Northwestern.

NU-Q’s previous graduation speakers have included columnist and commentator Rami Khouri (2012), author and filmmaker Sophia Al Maria (2013), filmmaker and Oscar nominee Jehane Noujaim (2014), social entrepreneur Shiza Shahid (2015), and award-winning BBC anchor and correspondent Lyse Doucet OBE (2016).