Counseling Today, Features

Linda Ellerbee to keynote ACA Convention in Detroit

Angela Kennedy September 30, 2006

Veteran journalist, children’s advocate, breast cancer survivor and award-winning television producer Linda Ellerbee has been named as one of two keynote speakers for the American Counseling Association Convention in Detroit, March 21-25, 2007.

“She has a powerful message to convey about courage, hope and honesty,” says ACA Marketing Coordinator Debra Bass. “She has special words for counseling professionals about the work they do every day to help individuals and families cope. Her book And So It Goes was on the New York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks and her second book, Move On, is about surviving the future with your sense of humor intact.”

For the last 25 years, Ellerbee has earned a living writing, producing and anchoring award-winning television shows. She 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.”

Lucky Duck

In 1987, Ellerbee walked away from network news with her life and business partner Rolfe Tessem to start Lucky Duck Productions. The fledgling company first produced documentaries for PBS. Then, in 1991, Lucky Duck began producing Nick News for Nickelodeon with Ellerbee writing and hosting. The critically acclaimed weekly TV news and documentary series for kids has a prime time slot on Nickelodeon and is syndicated in more than 92 percent of the country.

Today, more children watch Nick News than watch all other TV news shows combined, and the program 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 Peabody awarded to Ellerbee for her coverage of the Bill Clinton investigation). It has also received a duPont Columbia Award and four Emmys, including an Emmy for outstanding children’s programming in 2005 for the Nick News Special Edition: Never Again? From the Holocaust to the Sudan.

“In my work over the years,” says ACA President Marie Wakefield, “I have come to realize that one of the most difficult age groups is adolescence. Linda Ellerbee and I share concerns with how youth are coping with these hard, seemingly unexplainable issues that are not a part of their curricular studies. The tragedy of Columbine, the war in Iraq, homelessness, AIDS, to name a few, often saturate the media as children watch and internalize these tragic events. I see an important need for us as parents, educators and counseling professionals to promote discussions and bridge their concerns with coping skills.”

Lucky Duck has produced prime time specials for a wide range of television networks and cable channels, including ABC, CBS, HBO, PBS, Lifetime, MTV, Logo, A&E, MSNBC, SOAPnet, Trio, Animal Planet and TV Land, among others. In 2004, Ellerbee was honored with an Emmy for her series When I Was a Girl, which aired on WE: Women’s Entertainment network. Lucky Duck has also produced more than 40 Intimate Portraits for Lifetime Television.

Although Ellerbee has won all of television’s most prestigious honors, she says her two children have provided her with her richest rewards.

Keep reading future issues of Counseling Today for an announcement concerning the second keynote speaker for the ACA Convention in Detroit as well as a “sneak peek” interview with Ellerbee.