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:

In times like these, the arc of history is often invoked to make sense of the present. So the narrative goes, the so-called Islamic State arose in the vacuum left after America’s misadventures post-9/11.

Recently, Jon Meacham’s book has been in the news for revelations that George Herbert Walker Bush – Bush 41 – thought his son, W. – Bush 43 – was badly served by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. That’s news, especially since the narrative used to be that 43 was just doing his father’s bidding, retribution for an unfinished war.


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From Texas Standard:

Over the past several months, Texas has become home to hundreds of Syrian refugees. These people fled their homes because of terrible war conditions that made life dangerous, unstable and completely unpredictable – a far cry from the ideals of freedom that both Texas and France uphold today.

After Friday’s attacks, and a report that at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe’s refugee screening system from Syria, many are beginning to wonder if Western countries will continue to be as welcoming.


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From Texas Standard

The healthcare marketplace is open once again, but if you look closely at the offered insurance plans you might find something lacking: coverage for specialized treatments.

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From Texas Standard:

Yesterday, a new undercover video was released by the anti-abortion group targeting Planned Parenthood. Shot in Austin, the video shows a doctor describing methods used to perform later-term abortions.

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From Texas Standard:

Texas barbecue, like Texas itself, has many origins. There's the Mexican influence, which you can taste when you bite into a juicy barbacoa taco, and then there's the influence of Germans and Czechs who brought the idea of meat shops and cooking meat over hot coals to the Lone Star State.

What really helped shape our idea of barbecue isn't nearly as well documented or celebrated: the influence of slave populations and their style of cooking.

Where there's smoke, there's Daniel Vaughn. The Texas Monthly barbecue editor stepped in to the Standard's studio to tell us more.


The Hidden Pines wildfire in Bastrop County is bringing back memories of an even more destructive fire four years ago.

The 2011 Labor Day wildfires took two lives and uprooted thousands of others in Central Texas. More than 1,600 homes were destroyed, landmarks disappeared and habitats changed.

For each statistic there is a story.

Be the Change, Inc./flickr

From Texas StandardAs enormous as the state of Texas is, 95 percent of its land is privately held. So if you're serious about conservation, any efforts on publicly held land are just a start. The next step is convincing private landowners to embrace best practices, too.

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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.

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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.