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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Life & Arts
5:47 am
Mon June 9, 2014

'All The Way' Playwright Robert Schenkkan Wins Tony for Play on LBJ's Legacy

Robert Schenkkan visited KUT to talk about his play, "All the Way."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Update: Austinite, Texas Ex and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan won a Tony Award last night for his play "All the Way."

The play stars Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame as President Lyndon B. Johnson. Cranston also won a Tony for his performance. KUT spoke with Cranston about the role last November.

Original Story (Nov. 21, 2013): Amid all the talk of JFK as we approach the 50th anniversary of his death, one could make the case that as tragic as the Kennedy assassination was, the accidental presidency of Kennedy's successor – Lyndon Baines Johnson – was far more consequential in reshaping the landscape of the United States.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan takes it even further in his new drama "All The Way." Actor Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame plays LBJ – from the moment of his swearing in aboard Air Force One in 1963, to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Robert Schenkkan came to KUT's Newsmaker studio and spoke with David Brown.

Life & Arts
10:10 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Austin Favorite Sarah Bird's New Novel Travels New - and Old - Ground

Austin novelist Sarah Bird's new book is entitled, "Above the East China Sea."
Filipa Rodrigues

Austin novelist Sarah Bird has been writing for a while. Long enough to become beloved in Austin and build a loyal following for her fun, easy stories with an Austin flair. But this month, Sarah Bird's about to ruin her reputation. Her new novel, Above the East China Sea looks at life from a completely different perspective. 

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Life & Arts
4:13 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Here Are Five Page-Turners for Summer Reading Season

This weekend not only kicks of the summer vacation and travel season. It also kicks off the summer reading season. So The Texas Standard reached out to the mavens of manuscripts at the Kirkus Reviews. 

Editor-in-chief Clay Smith sat down with David Brown to discuss some of the best books available this season. Smith's picks for summer reading with a punch include:

Natchez Burning by Greg Isles. "Greg Isles is a guy who has been publishing thrillers for a while and he was on a routing publishing schedule, you know, year after year ... He had a car crash and was induced into a coma recently and so this is his first thriller in five years. And it deals with all that southern stuff. You know, race, long held secrets, society and readers are loving it. It is hard to put down."

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Immigration
12:34 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Unaccompanied Migrant Children Are Being Held at Texas' Lackland Air Base

Credit flickr.com/plmccordj

In recent years, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have tried to make their way into the U.S. from the southern border only to be apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol and immigrations officials.

Now, Lackland Air Force Base in south Texas is being pressed into action as a makeshift holding center for as many as 1,000 unaccompanied undocumented children.

Jennifer Podkul works with the Women's Refugee Commission on issues associated with unaccompanied minors in detention. In a conversation with Texas Standard host David Brown, Podkul compared detention conditions to a refugee camp. 

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Life & Arts
4:20 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

The International NBA: How Hiring Outside the Box Builds Better Teams

Flickr user Doug L., flic.kr/ps/2bA2fE

The San Antonio Spurs face the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Game Two of the NBA's Western Conference playoff.

While the game's on the Spurs' home court in the AT&T Center in San Antonio, several Spurs players don't hail from San Antonio – or Texas – or even the United States for that matter. In fact, the Spurs are the most international team in the NBA.

Other teams are on their way. In the 2013 NBA draft, the number one pick was a Canadian. This year, the number one pick may well be another Canadian.

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Austin
2:44 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Austin's the Only Fast-Growing City in the Country Losing African-Americans

Charles E. Urdy Plaza on E. 11th Street – gateway to the former "negro district" in Austin's 1928 city plan. Austin is the only city with double-digit growth from 2000-2010 to have a net loss in its African-American population.
flickr.com/wallyg

The overall Austin population exploded between 2000 and 2010, growing by more than 20 percent. But a University of Texas study [PDF] finds that Austin was the only U.S. city experiencing double-digit population growth that saw its African-American population not only not keep pace, but actually decline.

"Among the ten fastest-growing major cities in the United States, Austin stood out in one crucial respect: it was the only such city that suffered a net loss in its African- American population," says study author Dr. Eric Tang. "Indeed, between 2000 and 2010, Austin was a statistical outlier; it was the only major city in the United States to experience a double-digit rate of general population growth coincident with African-American population decline." 

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Author Interviews
8:19 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Author Robert Bryce: Why Thinking Smaller Will Bring the Future Faster

What do transistors, lithium batteries and AK-47s have in common?

Each one of those inventions fast-forwarded human history. They and many more, argues Austin-based author Robert Bryce, are examples of a trend in nature and society toward making things, faster, cheaper and – Bryce argues – better.

Bryce's new book is called "Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong." He spoke to Texas Standard host David Brown.

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Life & Arts
3:47 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

'Orange Aardvark' is a Colorful Book For Kids

"It's an Orange Aardvark!" is the new book from Michael Hall. It's a short book, so we don't want to give anything away. But we can tell you it involves carpenter ants, a lot of holes and a hilarious payoff. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “suspenseful and entertaining; all-around great fun.”

The Texas Standard spoke to Hall on the phone, on a lunch break between school visits. "I enjoy the school appearances," Hall said. "The kids are so attentive and curious. They're just great audiences and it's a lot of fun."

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Life & Arts
12:59 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Elizabeth Crook's 'Monday Monday' Revisits UT's Infamous Tower Shooting

Elizabeth Crook, author of "Monday Monday", at the KUT Studios.
Credit Samantha Ortega for Texas Standard

There are few incidents in Texas history as compelling as the UT Tower shooting.

On August 1, 1966, a UT student and ex-marine named Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the UT Tower and opened fire on the pedestrians below. 16 people were killed. Dozens were injured. It was the first mass shooting on a US college campus. And it changed many lives.

Austin novelist Elizabeth Crook has used the events of that day to craft a vivid and emotional novel, "Monday, Monday." She told KUT's Emily Donahue that she felt some qualms about her subject matter. She began writing in 2006. And as she wrote, several school shootings occurred, from Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook.

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Crime & Justice
12:53 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Could Europe Put a Stop to the Death Penalty in Texas?

Execution room in the San Quentin State Prison in California.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

This week, Oklahoma's Supreme Court stopped the executions of two convicted murderers. At issue: where the state gets its execution drugs. The state does not want to reveal its source.  

Texas also has long kept its lethal drug suppliers secret, although Attorney General Greg Abbott recently issued an opinion stating it's time to go public.  But as death penalty opponents increase the pressure to expose suppliers and to disrupt the supply of the drug, some states are reviewing their options on capital punishment.

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Why It's Not So Bad to Speak 'Bad English'
3:22 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

On the Bard's Birthday, Who Wrote It: Shakespeare or a Rapper?

Shakespeare or Big Daddy Kane? According to "Bad English" author Ammon Shea, slang and informal English is usually "much older than we think."

It's happened to all of us: just when you're ready to deliver the perfect rebuttal,  last word or final point, your tongue trips up and you slaughter your English.

Don't fret about it, says author Ammon Shea. The man who spent a year reading the Oxford English Dictionary is taking on grammarians and nitpickers alike.

Shea's new book "Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation" (out this June) is an eye-opening look at how language mistakes have become accepted as correct usage.

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Life & Arts
10:49 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Novelist Elizabeth Strout Talks About 'The Burgess Boys'

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout visited KUT Austin to speak about her book "The Burgess Boys"
Credit Samantha Ortega for KUT News

The novel "The Burgess Boys" took the nation by storm last year. This month, the novel is available in paperback.

The follow-up to Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Olive Kitteridge" spent weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list and months making the rounds of book-circles.

Elizabeth Strout visited with the Texas Standard's Emily Donahue to talk about her book. Listen to their conversation in the audio player below.

Life & Arts
6:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Austin Author's New Thriller Links Love, Mystery and World War I

A young man about to go to war meets a young woman. They fall in love. A reckless, passionate affair follows. It lasts just a week, but it reverberates through six lifetimes.

That's just one layer of the narrative in a new novel by Austin author Justin Go. “The Steady Running of the Hour” includes a race against time and crosses two centuries and multiple continents – from the drawing rooms of London to the horror of World War I battlefields – through Europe, Asia and the U.S.

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
4:19 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Interview: President Jimmy Carter on Why Women's Rights are Civil Rights

Timothy A. Hazel, U.S. Navy

President Jimmy Carter is one of four U.S. presidents attending the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin this week.

President Carter, who served from 1977 to 1981, grew up in Southern Georgia during some of the worst days of Jim Crow. The 39th president of the U.S. is also promoting a new book, "Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power," in which he discusses what he calls discrimination and violence against women and girls worldwide – what he calls "the most serious and unmet worldwide challenge" of our time.

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Texas
3:21 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

You Can Buy Your Way Into Texas' Oil Boom. But Is It Worth It?

A jointly-owned oil rig atop the Eagle Ford shale south of San Antonio.
Credit Larissa Liska

In the history of Texas, few figures are as colorful as the wildcatters: oil prospectors who gambled big on the lure of black gold and striking it rich, or went broke trying. But what if you could be a wildcatter with a click of the mouse?

According to a company selling stakes in rigs right now, you too can own an oil well – or at least part of it – right here in the states. 

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Education
1:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Interview: Dr. Clay Johnston on Innovations at Dell Medical School

Dr. Clay Johnston (center), speaking after being named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School.
KUT News

The Dell Medical School at UT Austin is scheduled to open for classes in 2016. The man leading the school to that opening is newly appointed dean, Dr. Clay Johnston.

Johnston spoke with Texas Standard host David Brown about what needs to happen before classes begin – and more importantly, how the new medical school will break the mold for student education and patient care.

"We can't treat this as our one opportunity to change things," Johnston says. "The reality is that academia – at least in medicine – moves very, very slowly. So we want to create the structures, the culture, that allow us to continually move, to be nimble and move forward."

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Life & Arts
6:05 am
Mon March 17, 2014

What You Don't Know About Mavis Staples and Her Music

Mavis Staples at Austin City Limits fest in 2011.
Laura Fedele, via flickr.com/wfuv

For a slightly younger generation, the Staples Singers evoke memories of avocado colored refrigerators and polyester pants. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but certainly not the reason you should know the name Mavis Staples

In the new book, "I’ll Take You There," music journalist Greg Kot connects the dots between modern American culture and the great migration as African-Americans moved from the deep south to Chicago. 

Mavis Staples is part of the fabric of Chicago, Kot tells Texas Standard's David Brown.

"[She's] a cultural institution. Her family is a cultural institution," he says.

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Austin
12:16 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

The Smartphone App Connecting Austin to Protests in Venezuela

Protestors in Venezuela use smartphone app Zello to communicate
flickr.com/aandres

According to published reports, for the first time in four years Venezuela is set to send an ambassador to the US. This comes despite the fact that Venezuela's president is accusing Washington of fomenting violent anti-government protests – protests that have left more than a dozen people dead. 

Just last week, Venezuela expelled three US diplomats accused of conspiring with student protesters, a charge rejected by the Obama Administration. But that's not to say there's been no Texas role – albeit an unofficial one.  

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Texas
2:09 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

How the Ongoing Drought is Affecting Texas BBQ

The Texas drought has caused a spike in beef prices.
flickr.com/cpencis

Barbecue is sacrosanct in the Lone Star State, with brisket being arguably the most Texan of dishes. But since 2006, Texas' extended drought has proved a problem for ranchers. In 2011 – the driest year on record – many cattle ranchers gave up, choosing to sell off as they watched their land dry up.

That wave of sell-offs not only affected Texas ranchers, but also affected the bounty of beef ribs, chopped beef and beautifully marbled brisket throughout the state. Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn tells Texas Standard's David Brown it's not only caused beef prices to rise, but could affect the taste and quality of Texas barbecue for years to come.

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Texas
5:56 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

How Did the Magna Carta End Up in Houston?

Hereford Cathedral archivist Rosalind Caird examines the Magna Carta in
Photo courtesy Hereford Cathedral

This Friday, a rare copy of the Magna Carta and an accompanying King's Writ will go on display in Houston at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Known as one of the most important documents in history, the Magna Carta was written and signed by King John and England's feudal barons in 1215. It directly inspired international constitutional law and the tenets upon which the U.S. Constitution is based.

So why has this rare copy — one of only four in existence — traveled from its home at Hereford Cathedral in England to Houston of all places?

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