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Linda  Ellerbee

Linda Ellerbee

Award-Winning Journalist & Television Producer

Biography

Linda Ellerbee is an outspoken journalist; award-winning television producer, writer, and anchor; best-selling author; breast cancer survivor; a mother and grandmother; and one of the most sought-after speakers in America. Ellerbee and her work can be seen all over the television universe. Lucky Duck, her production company, produces primetime specials for ABC, CBS, HBO, PBS, Lifetime, MTV, Logo, A&E, MSNBC, SOAPnet, Trio, Animal Planet, and TV Land, among others. Ellerbee was honored with an Emmy in 2004 for her series When I Was a Girl, which aired on WE: Women’s Entertainment network.  Read More >

Ellerbee’s first foray into books for kids, an eight-part fiction series entitled Get Real published in 2000, won her raves among middle school readers. Both of Ellerbee’s previous adult books—And So It Goes, a humorous look at television news, and Move On, stories about being a working single mother, a child of the ‘60s, and a woman trying to find balance in her life—have been national bestsellers. Ellerbee’s latest bestselling book, Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table, is a humorous account of her love of travel, talking to (and eating with) strangers, and, according to Ellerbee, “just making trouble in general.”

In 2011, Ellerbee won the Tribute Award, the highest honor given by the Alliance for Women in Media. On presenting the award, former CNN anchor Aaron Brown said to a ballroom full of women, “the two most important women in the history of television news are Barbara Walters and Linda Ellerbee. Barbara Walters made it possible for you to be on television news; Linda Ellerbee made it possible for you to be YOU on television news.”

As a popular and versatile speaker, Linda Ellerbee travels thousands of miles each year, inspiring audiences with her insight and filling banquet rooms and concert halls with laughter. They come to hear her trademark wit and wisdom on everything from how to survive corporate America with your values intact to how to survive breast cancer and live to laugh about it (she often speaks to medical groups concerning healthcare from a patient’s point of view), and how to accept—even embrace—a changing world, perhaps making a few changes yourself.

Ellerbee began her career at CBS, and then moved to NBC News where, after years of covering national politics, she pioneered the late-night news program NBC News Overnight, which she wrote and anchored. Overnight was cited by the duPont Columbia Awards as "the best written and most intelligent news program ever." Ellerbee moved to ABC News in 1986 to anchor and write Our World, a weekly primetime historical series. Her work on Our World won her an Emmy.

Ellerbee and partner Rolfe Tessem quit network news in 1987 to start Lucky Duck Productions, a New York-based company that produces news, documentaries, and other specials for broadcast and cable. In 1991, Lucky Duck began producing Nick News for Nickelodeon with Ellerbee as executive producer, writer, and anchor. Now celebrating its 20th year, Nick News, the longest running children’s news program in television history, is watched by more children than every other television news show put together—and has earned honors traditionally associated with adult programming. Known for the respectful and direct way it speaks to children about the important issues of our time, Nick News has collected three Peabody Awards (including one personal Peabody given to Ellerbee for her coverage of the Clinton investigation), a duPont Columbia Award, and eight Emmys. In 2009, Nick News received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Network News Documentary, making history as the first ever kids’ television program to receive this prestigious award. Read Less ^

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And So It Goes: Adventures in Journalism

She began her career by getting fired from the Associated Press three months after getting hired—which turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her career. From newspapers to networks, Ellerbee went from covering fires and parades to covering presidential campaigns and international terrorism, anchoring ground-breaking television series such as Weekend, NBC News Overnight, Our World, and Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, which, in its 20th year on the air, is television’s longest running news program for kids. She became known for her writing and for respecting her audience, and collected TV’s most prestigious awards along the way. Her best-selling book, And So It Goes, a humorous look at TV news, is still used as a journalism textbook 25 years after it was published. Once upon a time, they called her an irreverent newcomer, then a seasoned veteran, and now a pioneering female journalist. Throughout her career, Ellerbee has become famous for doing it her way. She’s had a helluva good time, and hopes that maybe, just maybe, she changed television news a tiny bit. Ellerbee, who still does it her way, also has a lot to say about journalism today and journalism tomorrow. Her commencement speeches to young journalism graduates are designed to encourage them to take their work seriously without taking themselves seriously, and to inspire them to make journalism better—because they can.

Surviving Breast Cancer to Laugh Another Day

Ellerbee knows that cancer is a family disease, even a cancer that strikes mostly women. In her rightfully famous speeches on this subject, she describes her own journey through cancer, from the devastation of diagnosis, the loss of both breasts, walking through the dark valley of chemo, wrestling with the fear of death—and how good it feels to still be on the right side of the grass 20 years later. She talks of dealing with the medical profession, family, and friends—all of whom, even when well intentioned, occasionally seem misguided or absurd, if not downright silly. Ellerbee encourages women to become partners in their treatment, to stand up for themselves, to make a big noise, to fight—and fight back. She speaks directly to the hearts of women, sharing stories that make them laugh and make them cry, and then shows them how to find the beauty—and healing powers—of laughter through tears. Life goes on. So can you.

How to Succeed and Still Hang onto Your Values

In this speech, Linda Ellerbee shares how to build a strong career by doing it your way; how to find your own power; how to not lose yourself or your values as you rise in your work; how you can (and cannot) balance work and family; and how you can manage to stay human by managing a company humanely. She delivers a series of useful messages to employers and employees through plenty of humor and stories—from having a boss to being the boss. What she offers is nothing less than a new template for a new century of working women and men.

Change Is a Form of Hope

Linda Ellerbee uses her well-known wit and her personal stories to send a strong message that change, life’s only constant, need not be met with fear, that to risk change is to believe in tomorrow, and that you can indeed survive a changing world with your heart intact. She’s survived the trials of being one of the first women in her field, working for years in corporate America, raising two kids as a single mother, starting her own company, losing both her breasts to cancer, and overcoming her own pig-headedness (something she still has to work at). She shares her personal rules for surviving change, inspiring women (and men) to be strong, encouraging them to make noise, and urging them to do the right thing. In her extraordinary life and career, Ellerbee has learned that change is the norm, and that it’s better to make it than be caught by it. 

Healthcare from the Patient's Perspective

Linda Ellerbee shares personal accounts of her experiences with breast cancer—from doing research, asking questions and taking part in making decisions about her own healthcare as an empowered consumer to the determination and spirit that have made her a survivor for over 20 years—while acknowledging how important caregivers and healthcare providers were to her recovery.

How to Survive a Changing World & How to Change Your World

Linda Ellerbee gives her rules for surviving a changing world with the heart intact—from surviving breast cancer to climbing mountains, from overcoming obstacles to making a noise. In her life and in her career, Ellerbee has learned that change is the norm.

How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids

In the future, our kids will either learn to use the mdia that surround them as tools, or they will be tools of that media. Television, the Internet, iPhones—what's next? And what is media literacy today, and how do we teach it? Ellerbee offers insight and perspective gained from speaking with (and listening to) kids for nearly 20 years on the critically acclaimed children's television series Nick News, and from raising two media-savvy kids of her own.

Books & Media

Books

Take Big Bites