This is the eighteenth article in Bears Doing Big Things, a weekly column celebrating the stories of notable M-A alumni. Read last week’s article here.
Local journalist Linda Hubbard is the editor of InMenlo, a newspaper that showcases the stories of people, places, and events in Menlo Park, Atherton, and surrounding communities. She writes many profiles for InMenlo, so we decided to turn the tables and profile her.
Hubbard had humble beginnings as assistant editor of “Bear Tracks,” M-A’s previous print newspaper. The 1966 yearbook awarded her a “Golden Paw” award with the caption: “Linda deserved the award. She never failed her responsibilities producing her pages in the paper. As Assistant Editor, she could be found anytime you needed her. There she would be, sitting in the back room of H-8, eating her tuna fish sandwiches. She did a great job.”
Hubbard remembered guiltily, “One time, a journalism classmate and I went to take one of our stories to the Palo Alto Times and we used the full class period for the trip when we could’ve done it in half the time.”
She credited a number of her M-A teachers for making a lasting impact on her. One was journalism teacher Charlie Mendoza and another was English teacher Judy Eilenberger. She remembered, “Mrs. Eilenberger was really tough. She had just graduated from Stanford, and she recognized that I could write—I’d had some great grammar teachers at Hillview. But, she would sometimes give me Bs on my papers because she said I hadn’t tried hard enough.” To current M-A students, Hubbard advised, “If you get a teacher who’s hard on you, maybe it’s for a good reason and it could be a good wake-up call.”
Hubbard graduated from M-A in 1966. “As did Stevie Nicks, so she can’t pretend to be any spring chicken either,” she said.
After M-A, Hubbard attended UCLA. She remembered, “One of my college journalism teachers knew an editor of The Los Angeles Times and he got me a job interview with the editor, who was wonderful, but very old-fashioned. He had no patience with interviewing people, so he hired me on the spot! I was a ‘desk assistant’—not very lofty, I know—but I could hear everything that was going on and I wrote headlines. The Los Angeles Times is where I really got my journalism education.”
Hubbard then wrote and edited for several publications including The Los Angeles Times, The Modern Maturity Magazine (now AARP), and The Peninsula Times Tribune. She moved back to Menlo Park in 1990 when her late husband Chris Gulker was hired to work for The Examiner.
In 2006, Gulker was diagnosed with a brain tumor. His doctors told him he had four years left to live. Hubbard explained, “Chris was a photographer who could write. He was able to continue to do things while on full-time disability and he felt that by starting InMenlo, he could contribute to the community. After he passed away, I continued it.” Gulker and Menlo Park resident Scott Loftesness co-founded the publication in 2009, and Hubbard took over in 2011.
Hubbard is now married to her former high school classmate Dennis Nugent. In the 1966 M-A yearbook, Hubbard and Nugent’s senior portraits are both featured on the “Student Body Board” page—Hubbard was the Publications Director and Nugent was the Boys’ Athletics Commissioner.
In 2021, Hubbard was formally recognized by Drew Combs, the former mayor of Menlo Park “for her work documenting the stories of Menlo Park residents, for her professional achievements as a journalist, and, more generally, for living a service-oriented life that has made her hometown proud.”
“InMenlo has turned out to be a terrific gift,” Hubbard said, “Because when you’re doing community journalism, people are earnest, committed to the community, and really trying to make a difference.” In addition to covering breaking news on InMenlo, Hubbard reports on topics from rain to community events, writes obituaries, and chronicles the things she spots around town, including rainbows, cute kids, festive holiday decorations, and more, in her “Spotted” column. Here is a sampling of the column:
Disclaimer: Bears Doing Big Things is not meant to be a list ranking the most accomplished or famous M-A graduates on Earth. It is a collection of people with a wide range of expertise, opinions, and stages of life who were kindly willing to share their stories. There are 45,000+ additional accomplished M-A alums out there, so keep an eye out for them!
Header image photo credit: Scott R. Kline