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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Photo by Stuart Boreham

Imagine there was a disaster. You were there. But you saw something no one else saw—something that would change everyone else's mind about what really happened. That is, if they believed you. Now, imagine there's another person who saw exactly what you saw. But no one believes him either. What would you do?

Austin author Meg Gardiner's new book, Phantom Instinct, pursues that question through 356 action-packed pages. She spoke to the Texas Standard's Emily Donahue.

ChinLin Pan/KUT

If you read fiction, and you don’t know about  "The Rosie Project," you’re missing something. The book was a breakout hit all over the world, raking in reviews ranging from merely exuberant to down right delirious. So what’s all the fuss about?

"The Rosie Project" is a flat-out fun read by an author who appears to have a lot of different interests dosed with a healthy sense of humor. But believe it or not, the book started out as high drama.

"This is the story of Don Tillman," author Graeme Simsion tells The Texas Standard's Emily Donahue. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/chesil/

While the crisis in Iraq is half a world away, it’s impact can be felt here in the U.S.  The rapidly destabilizing region is a base for major Texas oil companies, some of whom have had to evacuate the increasingly hostile environment.  

ChinLin Pan/KUT

People across the nation – especially here in Texas – have been riveted this past month by the crisis unfolding at the border as thousands of children arrive on their own. So desperate to flee their home countries in Latin America, children set off on a perilous journey, unsure of how they’ll be received once they get here.

Photo Jeremy Spierer

Joel Dicker is the author of the international bestseller, "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair." The 28-year-old author seems – on the surface – to have a lot in common with his protagonist. 

Dicker's novel is a blockbuster, first in Europe and now in the U.S. The same's true with the hero of his book, Marcus Goldman. But in the book, Goldman finds himself wrapped up in several layers of self-angst and mystery, at the center of which are 1) a murder and 2) his mentor.

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.

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. 

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."

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. 

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.

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." 

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.

"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."

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.

Calif. Dep. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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