Linda K. Wertheimer often has to explain that she is a journalist, but that she’s not the Other Linda, the one of NPR’s All Things Considered fame. This Linda, the one with the K., started writing professionally at age 16 when she penned a silly feature about foreign students visiting the zoo for her hometown daily in Findlay, Ohio.
She worked full-time for more than 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, including for The Boston Globe and The Dallas Morning News. Now, a freelance writer, she recently signed with Beacon Press to write a book about public schools’ efforts to teach about the world’s religions. The book stems from a Boston Globe Magazine cover story she wrote about Wellesley Middle School’s challenges after it faced controversy for taking children on a field trip to a mosque. The book, yet to be titled, is slated to come out sometime in 2015. The book will draw as well on her own experiences as one of the only Jews in her rural school system in Ohio.
An education writer for most of her career, in recent years, she has also written about her own life, particularly her journey from grief to faith after the loss of her brother. She has been working on a memoir about that loss, TWO TREES FOR KEVIN, A WOMAN’S JOURNEY FROM GRIEF TO FAITH, and several excerpts from her memoir have been published in various forms, including a cover story for The Boston Globe magazine about adult bat mitzvahs. She blogs on her own website and has contributed posts to other blogs, including The New York Times Motherlode blog, Modern Parenthood, the Reform Judaism blog, Kveller, Jewishboston.com, and On Faith for the Washington Post.
Her expertise includes writing about parenting, education, and religion.
- The Boston Globe. Education editor, staff writer from 2004-2009.
- The Dallas Morning News. Staff writer, covering Dallas city schools, then higher education from 1997-2003.
- The Orlando Sentinel. Staff writer, covering Orange County schools, from 1994-1997.
- The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY. Staff writer, K-12 education issues. 1990-1994.
- Freelance writer. Have written personal essays, travel stories, and features for various publications, including The Writer Magazine, the Boston Globe’s Sunday Magazine, the Jewish Forward, The New York Times Motherlode blog, and the Chicago Tribune. 1995-present.
- Second place, national Education Writers Association 2011 reporting contest. For Boston Globe magazine cover story, Test of Faith. (Winners announced in Spring 2012.)
- Third place, Moment magazine’s 2010 memoir contest. For excerpt, “Concerto of Words: Ostracism, Music, and Faith,” from her memoir. (Winners announced in fall 2011.)
- Honorable mention, Tiferet journal’s 2011 writing contest, nonfiction category. For excerpt, “Jew Girl,” from my memoir.
- Best of Gannett specialty reporting award for series on an inner-city high school teacher and his chemistry class. Chronicled the ups and downs for a teacher and his students in a failing Rochester, NY high school.
- Runner-up, achievement by an individual, Gannett newspaper chain, for series on the high school teacher.
- Honorable mention, feature writing, Texas Associated Press Managing Editors contest, for Dallas Morning News three-part series on a girl’s freshman year.
- Fellowship for journalists, Wesleyan Writers Conference.
- Two-week residency, One Writer’s Place, a retreat run by novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard.
Speaking, other media experience
I’ve been a guest on The Emily Rooney Show on WGBH, Boston talk radio, NECN’s and Fox 25′s morning news shows, and public access television to talk about articles I’ve done. I’ve also taught public speaking at UMass-Lowell and taught courses at Grub Street, a Boston writers’ group. Since the fall of 2011, I have taught journalism at Boston University.