Wertheimer at Wellesley College in 2012
March 19, 1943
Carlsbad, New Mexico
|Alma mater||Wellesley College|
|Spouse(s)||Fred Wertheimer (m. 1969)|
Background and education
Wertheimer was born Linda Cozby on March 19, 1943 in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the daughter of June and Miller Cozby, a grocery store operator and owner. She graduated from Wellesley College with the class of 1965.
After graduation, Wertheimer worked for the BBC and WCBS. She was reportedly told by an executive at NBC that she should be a researcher, rather than an on-air reporter. Wertheimer began her career with NPR as the first director of news magazine All Things Considered, hosted by Robert Conley, from its debut on 3 May 1971. She was appointed political correspondent by 1974, and in 1976 became the first woman to anchor NPR's coverage of a presidential nomination convention and of an election night.
She continued in her role as a political correspondent through 1989, at which point she became a host of All Things Considered, a role in which she would continue for thirteen years. With Wertheimer as host the program's audience grew to record levels, from six million listeners in 1989 to nearly 10 million listeners by 2001, making it one of the top five shows in U.S. radio. In 2002, she left that role and became NPR's first senior national correspondent.
As of 2008, Wertheimer has anchored ten presidential nomination conventions and twelve election nights.
In 1979, Wertheimer won a DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in broadcast journalism. She received the award for her live coverage of the debate in the United States Senate about the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, concerning the Panama Canal, in February 1978. Her coverage spanned a period of 37 days and marked the first time a live broadcast was transmitted from inside the Senate chamber. Washingtonian magazine named Wertheimer one of the top 50 journalists in Washington, while Vanity Fair called her one of the 200 most influential women in America. In 1985, Wertheimer was awarded Wellesley's highest alumnae honor, the Distinguished Alumna Achievement Award.
Wertheimer has received several other accolades, including awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for her anchoring of The Iran-Contra Affair: A Special Report—a series of 41 half-hour programs on the Iran-Contra congressional hearings—from American Women in Radio and Television for her story Illegal Abortion, and from the American Legion for NPR's coverage of the Panama Canal Treaty debates.
She is the author of a book, Listening to America: Twenty-Five Years in the Life of a Nation as Heard on NPR, about recent American history as covered on NPR.
In 1969 she married Fred Wertheimer, a past president of Common Cause and current CEO of Democracy 21. To avoid an apparent conflict of interest, Linda Wertheimer does not do stories on campaign finance reform, because her husband is a vocal advocate on that issue.
- "Wertheimer, Linda". Information Please Database. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
- Halper, Donna L. Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting p. 218
- "Linda Wertheimer". NPR. 2004-12-29. Retrieved 2011-03-25.
- "Linda Wertheimer Takes on New Assignment", NPR press release, December 10, 2001
- DuPont Columbia award winners, accessed 9/27/06.
- Wertheimer, Linda. Listening to America. ISBN 0-395-79153-7
- "Wertheimer, Linda 1943-". Biographical Dictionary of Radio. New York: Routledge. 2010. p. 404. ISBN 978-0-415-99549-8.