Emily Donahue

News Director & Executive Producer, Texas Standard

Emily Donahue founded KUT News in 2001 as the station’s first news director. She's currently developing and launching KUT's daily news program, "Texas Standard".  Under Donahue’s leadership, KUT has grown from a staff of four into a nationally recognized newsroom with a radio and multi-media internship program cited far and wide; and has won more than 100 local, national and international awards for reporting, including five National Edward R. Murrow awards, two National Headliner Awards and a Clarion. Prior to joining KUT, Donahue was with the Peabody award-winning “Marketplace” team as producer of the Marketplace Morning Report. Emily has worked as a journalist for close to three decades in operations large and small. She says of all the places she’s worked – including London, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and even tiny Lexington, Virginia -- Austin is the best. In fact, it’s home. 

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From Texas Standard

Get ready, folks. We're officially a week away from the biggest event in Texas: the Texas Tribune Festival, that annual gathering of the state and nation's political elite with regular Texans who want the inside track on politics and policy.

Photo via Office of the Texas Attorney General

From Texas Standard:

This week in Texas politics: in between court appearances, A.G. Paxton visits a church in central Texas and Sen. Cruz rounds up endorsements while Wendy Davis makes an endorsement of her own.

Image via Flickr/Ellen Macdonald (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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From Texas Standard:

Former Texas Governor and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry recently confronted Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, calling it an act of "Trump-ism," which he defined as “a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense.”

Michael Signer wrote a book on demagoguery, “Demagogue: The Fight to Save Democracy From its Worst Enemies.” He’s also commented on various news sites about the topic. Signer shared his thoughts on demagoguery and its relation to the current political race for the presidency with the Texas Standard.


From Texas Standard:

Clay Smith of Kirkus Reviews brings us two hard-hitting books to read during April showers – both of them tackling issues swirling about in popular media and the news.

In fiction, Smith recommends God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. In the book Morrison, the only living Nobel prize winner for literature, tackles race and childhood.

Mackenzie Dunn/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard

T.C. Boyle is no stranger to tackling the taboo in his literature. His more than 20 novels examine every restricted topic in America and have earned him more accolades than many authors would ever dream of receiving. The New York Times raves his latest novel is the best one yet.

The Harder They Come examines the shootings that seem to be taking place nonstop across America. “It seems like there’s one every month now,” Boyle says. The novel takes place in Fort Bragg, California; however, it could be anywhere in the United States.

Alex Cockroach/flickr

March 14, 2015 is National Pi Day – as in 3.1415. And, at 9:26:53 a.m., the date and time will align with the first ten digits of pi: 3.141592653.


Loving Texas is one thing. Teaching your children to do the same when they no longer live here is something else altogether.

Jake Silverstein left his post as editor of Texas Monthly to head up a little outfit called The New York Times Magazine - a tough job but someone’s gotta do it. But back when he was at the helm of Texas Monthly, he was responsible for one of its most popular issues: It featured babies in cowboy boots under a banner asking, “How Do You Raise a Texan?”


Slavery still exists in Texas – it just isn't always easy to see. But a new project hopes to bring awareness to a problem that often hides in plain sight.

The Texas Slavery Mapping Project is a two-year initiative to gather data about human trafficking in the state. The project, a partnership between the Institute of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas at Austin and Austin-based Allies Against Slavery, just received a $500,000 grant from the Governor's Office to research existing data and compile resources for survivors. 

Susan Doupé Photography

Every family has a history – but few have a history as tangled as the one in Garth Stein’s new novel, “A Sudden Light.”

The Riddell family is driven by regret and bitterness – even a hint of madness. One 14 year-old boy finds himself thrust into the middle of it all, on a summer trip to the family homestead.

Stein speaks with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue about his newest novel, the controversy surrounding his previous novel, “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” and what it was like to write a book spanning five generations of the same family.

Mengwen Cao for Texas Standard

Imagine a world cloaked in silence. Silence that's interrupted by occasional gunfire. A world where you are one of the few people left alive. The other 99 percent have all died - all from a pandemic flu.

That's where Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, "Station Eleven"  begins. Amid all of the current panic surrounding Ebola, this book seems surprisingly topical. But "Station Eleven" is not your usual science fiction, post-apocalyptic story. Mandel likes to call it a story of "a Shakespearean theater company navigating celebrity, disastrous dinner parties, and friendship after the world, as we know it, has ended."

Emily St. John Mandel sits down with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue to talk about her novel, that's just been short-listed for the National Book Award

Matt Lankes / University of Texas Press

Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" is unlike any other film. Over the course of 12 years, the cast and crew gathered to create the critically acclaimed coming-of age-story chronicling the journey of a young boy, played by Ellar Coltrane, from childhood to adulthood. And over the course of those 12 years, photographer Matt Lankes worked behind the scenes, shooting moments the making of "Boyhood" and the transformation of its characters. 

Lankes captures those moments from the film’s production in his new book, "Boyhood: Twelve Years on Film." He tells the story of the creation of the movie through stills from the film, behind-the-scenes shots, and intimate black and white portraits of the cast during each year of filming.

Larry D. Moore [Creative Commons]

Carrie Fountain is searching for something.

The Austin-based poet recently released "Instant Winner," her second book of poems. In it, she reflects on parenthood and captures vignettes of moments from everyday life.

Fountain will be reading at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26. She spoke with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue about her book in advance of the festival.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

James Ellroy has a penchant for the persecuted.

His previous works including “L.A. Confidential,” “The Black Dahlia” and “The Big Nowhere” delve into forgotten times and seedy locales, where even the good guys have a bad streak.

His new noir novel “Perfidia,” like his other yarns, is a deep dive into Los Angeles during World War II, just after Pearl Harbor.

Ellroy spoke with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue ahead of his appearance at his appearance at the Texas Book Festival later this month.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

CNN has called her "the woman who could turn Texas purple."

That's a bold claim in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in two decades. But supporters are hoping that Senator Leticia Van de Putte – the Democrat running for Lieutenant Governor –can bring some blue back to red Texas.

Van de Putte sat down with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue to discuss her top priorities for the state.


For Texans, barbeque is nestled somewhere between football and firearms as things closest to a state-mandated religion. We take our barbecue seriously, so it’s no surprise that Texas Monthly magazine would hold an invitation-only barbecue festival every year.

This year's fifth, and largest, annual festival brings 25 of the best pit bosses in the state. The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn to see which of the competitors have the chops to make the cut.

Flickr user Barney Moss, https://flic.kr/p/gnBD1o

On September 18, Scottish voters will decide on the future of their country – whether Scotland should be an independent country, or remain part of the United Kingdom.  If a simple majority of votes is cast in favor of independence, then a process of negotiations would begin to grant full independence to Scotland.

Here in Texas, we’ve got some experience with declarations of independence from major nations – so we should have some advice to offer to our Caledonian friends.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Dr. Stephen Hardin, a professor of Texas history at McMurray University in Abilene.

With the dog days of summer in full swing and fall's slate of television premieres waiting in the wings, now might be the perfect time to kick back and crack open a book.

Luckily, the Texas Standard's got you covered. Kirkus Reviews' Clay Smith gives us some book recommendations that will, hopefully, keep your mind off the mind numbing heat until cooler temperatures prevail.


Mark McKinnon is best known as a longtime advisor for President George W. Bush, but recently he’s been taking a surprisingly liberal stance on a popular topic – gay marriage. In opposition to many of his GOP compatriots, McKinnon has been campaigning to bring same sex marriage to the Lone Star State. The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with McKinnon on his stance and how he plans to go about it.

Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/U.S. Air Force

Texans are still talking about Gov. Rick Perry's statements this week on the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terror group, known by the acronym ISIS.

Gov. Perry told an audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation that "ISIS or other terrorists" could have crossed into the U.S. through the Mexican border. "I think there is a very real possibility that they may have already used that," Perry said.