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Linda Deutsch and Her Legacy at “The Outlook”

Over the course of “The Outlook’s” 90 years, hundreds of writers have come through and made their mark on Monmouth’s national award-winning paper. Perhaps none of them, however, are as recognizable as Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Linda Deutsch. Referred to as “the Trial Lady” by the late radio and television host Larry King, Deutsch made a name for herself as an esteemed “Associated Press” trial reporter, having covered several historical cases over the course of her career, including that of cult leader Charles Manson, former NFL player O.J. Simpson, serial killer Richard Ramirez, and pop king Michael Jackson. A review of “The Outlook’s” history would not be complete without honoring Deutsch.

Before graduating Monmouth College in 1965, Deutsch served as the editor of “Monmouth Letters,” the campus’ literary magazine now known as the “Monmouth Review,” as well as the Features editor of “The Outlook” during her time at Monmouth. From there, Deutsch eventually relocated to Los Angeles to expedite her journalism career; nevertheless, her roots kept her planted by the Jersey Shore.

The prospect of attending Monmouth seemed unlikely as Deutsch considered her higher education options as a high schooler at Asbury Park High School. At the time, her family was financially weighed down by her beloved father’s medical bills; consequently, Deutsch worried she wouldn’t have the means to attend higher education. Miraculously, though, Deutsch explained that upon acceptance to Monmouth, she was granted one of the first student government loans—the program was only three years old at the time—and was able to earn a college education. As no communication or journalism programs were yet available, Deutsch studied English; student-led organizations like “Monmouth Letters” and “The Outlook” became her home.

“[‘Monmouth Letters’] was my first entry into working in print on campus when I arrived,” said Deutsch. “They became like my family. They were incredible.” Deutsch then joined “The Outlook” as a writer on top of her part-time job at the “Asbury Park Press” and then later at the “Perth Amboy Evening News.”

“In my sophomore summer, there was a professor who taught one semester of journalism,” began Deutsch. “That was the only journalism [class available]. I was already working part-time at the ‘Asbury Park Press,’ working on the [literary] magazine and ‘The Outlook,’ and all of that. He [the professor] never made me come to class. He said, ‘There’s nothing I could teach you that you don’t already know.’” It was this professor, Frank Demetrius, who helped Deutsch get a summer job in Perth Amboy. Now back in her birth town, Deutsch landed a job at the ‘Evening News’ at only eighteen years old. “I had a shift that started at seven at night and went until three in the morning,” she added. It was with this paper that Deutsch traveled to Washington, D.C., and covered Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech; an article that landed her byline on the front page for the first time. “After that, there was no turning back. That was the beginning.”

The “Asbury Park Press,” where Deutsch only got stories on an occasional basis, then wanted to hire her full-time. However, due to her full-time status as a college student, she only took a position covering weekends and sometimes nights. Deutsch continued, “By then, I became kind of a staffer at the ‘Press,’ in addition to working on ‘The Outlook’ and on the [literary] magazine.”

One of the more notable memories Deutsch recounted involved “The Outlook” supporting former President John F. Kennedy in his mission to promote fitness and physical health. “Our project at “The Outlook,” which I’m afraid I have to admit that I came up with,” Deutsch added, “was that a bunch of the staff members walked from the campus to New York City. We had TV coverage, and the Lowell Hotel in New York gave us rooms when we arrived. It took a whole day.” With reminiscent humor and a laugh, she quipped, “Everybody asked me, ‘Oh, did you walk?’ and I said, ‘No. I rode in the car picking up the bodies of those who fell.’ It was one of those staff events that made such an impact on all of us.”

She continued, “It was this big thing for Monmouth and for Kennedy. We were paying tribute to him. That’s why it was such a blow to all of us when he was killed.”

The New York march would not be the last notable event to bear Deutsch’s name at Monmouth. From generously funding student journalism scholarships to gracing last year’s graduates with her commencement speech, Deutsch has never forgotten her Monmouth foundation. “The Outlook’s” home in Plangere is rightfully dedicated in her honor, as her journalistic drive and accomplishments are ones that any aspiring journalist would dream of achieving. In Deutsch’s own words: “Out of all of the things that happened to me in my early life… Monmouth was always the bright light.”

“The Outlook,” in turn, thanks Linda Deutsch for being a bright light to student journalists, not only at Monmouth, but everywhere.