NLPeople: Christina Veiga, senior director of media relations
This is part of a series that introduces you to the people of NLP.
Christina Veiga, senior director of media relations
1. Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to NLP?
I grew up in the suburbs of South Florida and spent most of my time as a kid barefoot in our backyard catching lizards or swimming in the pool.
I fell in love with journalism in high school. I needed to fill up some elective credits, and my mom suggested signing up for a journalism class because my teachers had always told me I was good at writing. I am naturally introverted but also always curious. In that class, I found that having a notebook and a story assignment were great excuses to talk to people and ask all the questions I always wondered about.
I studied journalism at Florida International University and was a reporter for more than a decade. At the Miami Herald, I covered cities large and small across South Florida and the Miami-Dade County school system. Then I joined the nonprofit newsroom Chalkbeat, where I covered education in New York City. Writing about the nation’s largest school system during the pandemic was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
The Jan. 6th insurrection left me deeply unsettled and led me to NLP. Watching the Capitol get ransacked showed the stark consequences to our democracy when society does not operate from a shared set of facts. It made me want to start an organization that would help people find credible information and avoid being misled. Instead, after a few quick Google searches, I stumbled on NLP. It was a relief to know lots of smart people were already tackling this problem, and it made me want to help spread the word so that everyone knows about and can benefit from the important work NLP does.
2. How have your experiences covering the Miami-Dade schools for the Miami Herald and reporting for Chalkbeat informed your work at NLP?
To have a healthy, functioning democracy, I believe that it’s vital to have a vibrant press and an education system that serves all children well. Working for NLP is a perfect blend of my career-long desire to change education and journalism for the better.
My favorite thing about being a journalist was discovering and elevating important stories. Now I get to do that for NLP. I love finding all the different stories we can tell about our work, and the inspiring things our educators are doing in classrooms across the country. I am constantly thinking about whose voices need to be heard.
3. What news literacy tip, tool or guidance do you most often use?
My favorite news literacy tip is: Always consider multiple sources. This tip covers so many news literacy skills in one.
By pausing to consider multiple sources, we’re less likely to spread information that’s false. It also helps people break out of filter bubbles that just reinforce existing beliefs. You’ll be less likely to get duped by a source that’s not credible if you seek information from more than one place.
Checking multiple sources is a multi-tasking news literacy tip. It’s easy for anyone to start doing it right away.
4. Aside from fighting for facts, what else are you passionate about?
I go to the beach every opportunity I have. I love swimming in the ocean, though it has been hard to get used to the cold water in the Northeast compared to South Florida. Yoga helps me feel strong and relaxed. I try to read a printed newspaper every day.
During the pandemic, my partner and I have become avid Scrabble players. We have sucked in lots of formerly reluctant family members and friends who are also now hooked.
5. Are you on team dog, team cat, team wombat? Or are you pet-free?
I’ve never had a dog or cat although I consider myself an animal lover. I have some potted begonias — they’re pretty plants with spotted, multi-color leaves and hot pink flowers — but I am far from a green thumb.
When I’m ready for a pet, I’d probably adopt a dog — a big, shaggy dog that likes catching frisbees on the beach.
6. What item do you always have in your fridge?
Berries! I eat them every day. Strawberries. Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. They’re my favorite food, the perfect snack, and you don’t feel guilty eating them by the fistful.
That doesn’t mean I always eat healthy foods, though. If you had asked what I always have in the pantry, I’d say chocolate chip cookies. The crunchy kind.
7. What’s in your backpack, laptop case or pocket right now?
Everything! My purse is usually bursting. I like to go on epic walks to explore new neighborhoods, so I pack a bag with all the stuff I could need while out and about. I always have band aids, sunglasses, a big water bottle, an external phone charger, some kind of snack… I could go on and on.