An award-winning journalist for more than 35 years and author of five nonfiction books, Michele Weldon is a prolific and accomplished storyteller across many platforms and genres, with the continuous thread through her work of compelling narrative. As a writer, speaker, trainer, editorial consultant or instructor, she maintains a consistency of voice and a belief that true, authentic stories and accurate, masterful content in any form are her mission.
From 1996 to 2013 Weldon taught journalism at the graduate and undergraduate levels at her alma mater, Northwestern University’s Medill School. As assistant professor in journalism, Weldon led the redesign of the freshmen undergraduate curriculum with groundbreaking instruction in Reporting & Writing and Multimedia Storytelling. She also taught courses in 21st century media, enterprise reporting, magazine storytelling, narrative jouranlilsm and journalism methods, and served as the writing coach for the graduate students.
After being named assistant professor emerita in service, she launched an initiative in 2013 to increase the visibility of new ideas about journalism from faculty and the Medill community with the launch of workshops and the innovative MedillTalks. An accomplished editor, from September 2013 to May 2014, she was responsible for editing or writing 81 percent of the editorials published in major media by Northwestern University faculty. She retired as assistant professor emerita in September 2014.
(Read an August 2015 interview with her here with the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago,)
She served as director of programming for Illinois Humanities Council from October 2014- May 2015, leading a staff to produce hundreds of programs a year across Illinois in the areas of public policy, journalism, business, the arts and access/education.
Her first critically acclaimed book, I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman, (Hazelden/ HCI, 1999), has had more than a dozen printings and was translated into seven languages. A 2012 ebook was released. Weldon’s second book, Writing to Save Your Life (Hazelden/HCI, 2001), has been translated into four languages and is the basis of her Writing to Save Your Life Workshops given in the Chicago area and around the country. It was also re-relased in a new edition in 2012 with an updated foreword and new essays. In “Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page,” (University of Missouri, 2008), Weldon writes about the future of American journalism and the intersection of popular culture and media in modern storytelling. Her ebook, A Mother And Her Sons (SheBooks) debuted in August 2014, followed by an audio version of the book. Her fourth nonfiction book, Escape Points: A Memoir will be published in September 2015 through Chicago Review Press.
She has written chapters in several books, including the 2011 book, This I Believe: Fatherhood: Essays from NPR (Henry Holt). Her December 2010 reading of the essay, “A Father Is Born From Many Strangers” at an NPR “This I Believe” event in Chicago was broadcast on NPR with an interview by Bob Edwards. Weldon also contributed a chapter, “The Changing Nature of News” to the Encyclopedia of 21st Century Media (Sage, 2009). In 1989, her essay, “Making Readers Want Novels is Writer’s Hardest Job,” was published as a chapter in Conversations with Joyce Carol Oates (University Press of Mississippi).
As a staff writer, editor or freelance contributor, Weldon has written for newspapers, websites, magazines and radio such as ADWEEK, AlJazeera, Alternet.org, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago magazine, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Dallas City, Dallas Times Herald, Dial, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Medium, More, Newsday, New York Times, North Shore, Pacific Standard, Parenting, Quartz, Seventeen, Slate, Spirit, Writer’s Digest, TIME, West Suburban Living, Woman’s Day, womensenews.org and hundreds more.
She is a senior leader with The OpEd Project and has been director of the Northwestern Public Voices Fellowship since 2012. Weldon co-directed the Public Voices Fellowships at Stanford and Princeton universities and leads core seminars for The OpEd Project in Chicago and around the country. She recently co-led a two-day seminar at Cambridge University for the Cambridge Gates Scholars and also at Wellesley College. Her animated lesson on narrative sourcing has earned 45,000 views on TED Ed and youtube. For two years, 2013-2015, Weldon also directed a program through The OpEd Project called Youth Narrating Our World, funded by The McCormick Foundation.
A popular public speaker, Weldon has delivered more than 200 keynotes across the country, Canada and Europe, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television shows in the United States, Europe and Canada including “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN, “Jenny Jones,” “Milt Rosenberg Show,” “The Sunday Papers,” “NBC’s Later Today,” “ABC Sunday Morning,” “CBS Morning Show,” Huffington Post Live, and BBC-TV.
She is a member of the advisory board of Global Girl Media and also Life Matters Media. She is a former member of the board of directors of Journalism & Women Symposium where she is an active member, and is a member of the Association for Women Journalists and Children’s Memorial Guild. She is on the board of advisors for Between Friends and is the mother of three sons, Weldon, Brendan and Colin.