An Advocate for Web Journalism

IN PROFILE 1972 CHRISTOPHER MA

A trail-blazer in the emerging field of Web publishing and a father of two children on the verge of adolescence, Christopher Y. Ma '72 lives a life molded by the ideals of his generation.

Ma is a long-time magazine editor and was recently named executive producer of washingtonpost.com--the on-line version of The Washington Post.

Ma says that his life, like that of many of his classmates, has been shaped by the tumultuous events of his College years.

"It was a time obviously when an awful lot of assumptions about the way the world was working or was supposed to work were being challenged," Ma says. "I think it did make me more attuned to the world of politics and therefore drew me to journalism."

The godfather of Ma's daughter, Li Chung "Sandy" Pei '72, says that while Ma was no extremist, he certainly reflected the times.

Pei, a New York-based architect, says that such a background has had concrete ramifications throughout Ma's career.

"Whether it makes him radical or not, it certainly represents a push towards change," he says.

Still, there are those like G. Garrett Epps '72--former president of The Crimson, where Ma worked on the editorial board--who feel that the impact of events at Harvard in the late '60s is often overestimated.

Epps, an assistant professor of law at the University of Oregon Law School, says that he feels that Ma, whose grandfather was the last Episcopal bishop of Beijing, has a personal history which is more important than any political movements during his College years.

"He comes from a very distinguished background and family and I believe that was much more important in his formation," Epps says.

Regardless of Ma's ideological commitments, his family has been a constant.

"I've tried to balance my professional responsibilities in a way that would allow me to have a close family relationship," Ma says.

The Web Navigator

Although Ma has long been involved in the business of telecommunications and information technology, his new job at The Post represents a departure from his career as a magazine journalist.

While he earned a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1978, the bulk of Ma's career has been spent as an editor.