Meredith O’Brien is a former newspaper and investigative reporter, award-winning columnist, and blogger who has taught journalism and writing at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Framingham State University.
She is the author of four books, most recently Uncomfortably Numb: a memoir (2020). Her third book, Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room (2017), about the year she shadowed a small-town Massachusetts middle school music teacher after the unexpected death of one of the jazz band members, won an Independent Book Publisher Award and was a finalist for a ForeWord INDIES award.
Modeled after Tracy Kidder’s Among Schoolchildren, the book was featured in the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and called “endearing and inspiring” as well as “a timeless story, one that underlines in gold the power of the unsung heroes all around us.”
Her other books include Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing which was a finalist for a ForeWord Reviews debut novel competition, A Suburban Mom: Notes from the Asylum which is a collection of humor columns, and The Buying of the President, where she was a co-author of this examination of the connections between campaign donors and the 1996 presidential candidates. She was the author of several investigative reports for The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative reporting organization.
She has been published in an array of publications and websites including the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Baltimore Sun, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, the Poynter Institute, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, STAT News, the Avalon Literary Journal, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.
A writer of many works of media criticism, she was a panelist for the League of Women Voters of the Worcester Area’s “Media Literacy and Fake News: Decoding Media in 2017” forum, a participant of Bay Path University’s Writers’ Day, and a featured speaker at the Bay Path University webinar on “Narrative Medicine and the Art of the Medical Memoir.”
She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in journalism and political science, a master’s degree from the American University in political science, and a master’s of fine arts from Bay Path University in creative nonfiction.
O’Brien teaches Understanding Today’s News and Journalism 1, and serves as the department’s writing coach.