Linda Solomon Wood is CEO of Observer Media Group and the founder and Editor-In-Chief of the National Observer. She is a co-founder of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Journalism in Vancouver as well as the Canadian Centre for Solutions Journalism in Ottawa. She has served on The Future of News Committee at the Public Policy Forum and sits on the Board of Governors at the National Newspaper Awards representing digital media. Under her leadership, the National Observer made history as the first digital-only publication to win a National Newspaper Award in May 2017. It made history again that June as the first digital-only publication to receive a Michener Award citation at Rideau Hall for reporting in the public interest.
The story of how she founded and built Observer Media Group was profiled on Harvard's Neiman Lab by Laura Hazard Owen in January 2018 in an article entitled, "'We stepped in and started doing it': How one woman built an award-winning news outlet from her dining room table." In a 2017 article in Carleton University Women in Business entitled "The Remarkable Story of a Female CEO," Kirthana Sasitharan writes: "In today’s media world, there is a lack of women thriving in leadership roles. While many news organizations have women as broadcast journalists, anchors, and writers, there are very few women overseeing the functionality of the organization. However, this lack in society has not stopped some women from reaching for the top- and often, it happens on their own terms." In an interview in Capture Queue: conversations with forward-thinking individuals, Tracy Giesz writes: "Your focus is on telling the stories of the people. You uphold their voices, as opposed to those who focus on stories only through the lens of elites or industry professionals." Solomon Wood testified to the House of Commons of Canada on how to improve the state of journalism in Canada in December of 2016. She was introduced by The Chair of the Standing Committee of Heritage Canada, Hon. Hedy Fry, who said: "...hers is one of the groups trying a new way to get newspapers to function."
Vancouver Observer to National Observer
Linda served for six years as Editor-in-Chief of Vancouver Observer. In 2012 and 2014, the Vancouver Observer received a Canadian Journalism Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award (Small Media). The Excellence in Journalism Award honours an organization that embodies exemplary journalistic standards and practices. A recipient of a 2015 Vancouver Board of Trade Wendy MacDonald Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation, she was honoured for building an inclusive new media company that served the community and provided opportunities for young people in a challenging environment.
Her first job as a reporter was at The Tennessean newspaper, where she was trained by John Seigenthaler as an investigative journalist. There, she won the United Press International Award for Best Public Service Reporting and Best Investigative Reporting for a series of articles on Industrial Life Insurance. US Senate Hearings were triggered by the series. The hearings resulted in federal regulations regarding "industrial insurance" being changed to make the sale of it illegal. She won the Lincoln University Unity Award for Economic Reporting for a series on the challenges of life in Nashville's public housing projects. A second time Linda's reporting led to federal legislative hearings, this time based on a series she wrote on discrimination against nurse-midwives by doctors (chaired by Al Gore who was then a U.S. congressman, as well as a former Tennessean reporter).
Before founding Observer Media Group, Solomon Wood's freelance journalism was published in The International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Orion Magazine and later, The Tyee. Previously, she earned a Masters of Fine Arts in writing at Vermont College and published a number of short stories in literary reviews such as Alabama Literary Review, Saint Ann's Review, Gulf Coast Review and Geist Magazine. She has taught writing from many perspectives, offering workshops and classes internationally from Emily Carr University in Vancouver to the Women's Institute for Continuing Education in Paris, where she lived for six years.
She is a frequent public speaker and panelist, most recently delivering a keynote speech at the Queens University Commerce & Engineering Environmental Conference 2018. Henry Gould, the speaker organizer for the conference said this about the speech: "Thank you so much for coming and speaking to us this weekend. I've spoken with many delegates and your message was so powerful, and your tenacity and ambition inspired delegates, 70% of whom were female. I'm so glad we were able to have you as part of the conference. Thank you for the taking the time to speak to us, and thank you for the amazing work you do."