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. 

Ways to Connect


The holidays are here and it might surprise people how energy-intensive they can be. Commentator Michael Webber is keeping a list - and checking it twice - on some ways we burn fuel this time of year.

For starters: There's the energy involved in travel to visit family – those long road trips over the hills and through the woods to visit Grandma, plane flights, even train travel.

Then there's the energy for heating our homes during cold weather. In the northeast that's likely fuel oil; gas in the Southwest; and electricity in the South. Then there are all those presents!

Spot On Sciences

In baseball, the crowd holds its breath, waiting for the pitch.

In the business world, pitching is similar: suspense can be a killer, and ideas often get knocked down. Scrappy start-ups and venture capital abound in the modern economy, but success isn’t always guaranteed.

Dr. Jeanette Hill, CEO of Spot On Sciences and home blood test HemaSpot knows pitching – and it's nothing like what you’ve seen on "Shark Tank."

“You’ve got about 60 seconds, sometimes up to two minutes,” she tells KUT’s David Brown. “You have to get your idea across, you have to sell the audience … get it out there without stumbling.”

Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons

On Dec. 14, it will have been exactly one year since the school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut that killed a total of 28 people, including 20 children.

Over the past several days, national news media organizations have been struggling with the question of whether to publish the recently released 911 calls. Clearly, many victims' families simply want to be left alone – to not be forced to relive the horror. And yet a Connecticut judge ruled to release those tapes, citing state law. 

Other states specifically prohibit the release of 911 tapes. What about Texas? 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It’s been eight years since Amy Tan’s last book. But critics are already saying “The Valley of Amazement” was worth waiting for. 

It’s a complicated story of mothers and daughters, secrets and lies, the past and the present, China and America. And – perhaps above all – it’s about women’s fierce wills to survive.

KUT's Emily Donahue spoke with Amy Tan about her new book. She was five years into writing a different novel, Tan says, when she took a new look at an old family photo.

“I had a photo of my grandmother sitting on my desk and it was my favorite photo of her,” Tan says. “She looks quite beautiful and dreamy eyed, and it is in fact the photo that is on the hard cover edition of ‘The Bonesetter's Daughter.’” 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Before that afternoon fifty years ago, neither Sid Davis nor Julian Read could have expected what they’d be called upon to do – much less that they’d both be eyewitnesses to history. 

Davis was a young radio reporter based in Washington D.C.

Read was on the other side of the journalistic fence, serving as press aide for Texas Gov. John Connally.

But they were both on a press bus in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 – the day President John F. Kennedy was shot.

After 50 years of virtual silence, Austinite Julian Read recently opened up to KUT about his experience that day. 

What's so great about the U.S. Constitution anyway? Could Washington govern better if it weren't slavishly devoted to a deeply flawed document over 200-years-old?

These are some of the questions that Sanford Levinson asks in "Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Government." The book comes out this month in paperback.

Levinson, a distinguished member of the UT Law faculty, spoke with KUT's David Brown about what can be done to better governing.

Emily Donahue, KUT News

Imagine a book about the future – a future where children are groomed to feed wild vampire-like beasts. A book with good guys who are bad guys, bad guys who retain a touch of humanity, and a few characters primed to save the world.

The Lair” is the second in a series of young adult books from Round Rock author Emily McKay. The first was “The Farm.”  Both are set in a post-apocalyptic future, in which adults have failed young people, and young people have adulthood thrust upon them.

McKay's vampires are neither glamorous nor elegant, but they are smarter, stronger and faster than humans. And in both “The Farm” and “The Lair,” human children are farmed to feed human/vampire Ticks.

Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin

A report this week in the journal Pediatrics on the risks of  unregulated breast milk – covering sharing between friends, but also Internet sales – found three-fourths of the study samples were contaminated with bacteria.

The populations most at risk from such milk are newborns with significant health issues. They’re children like Nina DeGuire. Now a year old, she was born with a serious heart problem that required a series of surgeries and made it hard for her to take formula. Her mother Lani says she had no choice but to find donated breast milk.

Image courtesy the Austin Film Festival

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival will kick off tomorrow tomorrow night. And, while this year's festival will screen some of the year's most talked-about films, such as the Coen Brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave' and the star-studded 'August: Osage County,' the festival had humble beginnings. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Donna DeCesare is one of four gold medal winners of the 2013 Maria Moors Cabot prize, awarded by the Columbia Journalism School for outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. “The Cabot Prize honors journalists who have covered the Western Hemisphere and, through their reporting and editorial work, have furthered inter-American understanding,” reads a statement on the journalism school’s website.

You can see more of DeCesare’s work on her website.

KUT News

U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, recently said 97 percent of all food stamp benefits reach those in need – meaning the benefit program, which caters to those at or below the federal poverty level, has an error rate of only three percent.

KUT News

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry said on a radio program that abortion was the second most common surgical procedure performed in the United States.

KUT News

As Lawmakers take up a abortion measure this week – we review comments made by State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson aboutabortion measure Senate Bill 5 after it died at midnight at the end of the last special session. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

What do you get when you mix Attila the Hun, deep space exploration and a the space-time continuum? For that answer you’d have to ask author James Rollins – whose new book, the Eye of God, has elements of all three.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Do so-called rape kits in Texas include an internal surgical procedure similar to abortion? That’s what a Republican legislator recently  suggested in a House debate.

U.S. National Archives

As the United States begin to digest the implications of today’s Supreme Court ruling striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the decision is resonating here in Austin – the home of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the president who fought for the Voting Rights Act.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

It’s Memorial Day weekend – the first big weekend of the summer season and plenty of movies are battling at the box office.

Burt alongside the latest “Star Trek” and “Hangover” sequels is another movie: The 1933 Frank Capra film “Lady for a Day.” Film Critic Leonard Maltin is in Austin for its showing tonight at the Paramount Theater, as part of its summer film series.

This interactive map was created using MLS data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors

Click on the dots to view the average sales price of Austin homes for each month from January 2008 to April 2013. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The children's book, Octopus Alone, by Austin writer/illustrator Divya Srinivasan is released today. It's already being called a remarkable story that teaches children that it's OK to be by yourself in a safe and quite place.

Octopus is shy. She lives on a reef where there’s always a lot going on. Sometimes it’s more than she can take. One day, she finds herself in a new place far from home, all alone.