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

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Imagine: The world as you know it has ended. People are gone. Food is scarce. Vicious animal roam freely. You are alone, fighting an enemy so devious, so powerful, so undetectable, you question your own sanity. You are 16.

That is the premise of Rick Yancey’s new young-adult novel, The 5th Wave. KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke with Yancey about the existential questions the characters grapple with along the way.

Map Says Many Austinites Bike to Work, But Do They Feel Safe?

May 15, 2013
City of Austin

It’s no secret that Austin is a biking city. And while cities around the country are gearing up for National Bike to Work Day, riding to work is nothing new for Austinites: according to Census data, people here commute by bike four times more often than the national average. 

To prove it, the city released a map breaking down bike commuting by neighborhood. But while more people are pedaling to work, cyclists don't always feel safe on Austin roads.

KUT News

The Attorney General of Texas recently said he’s sued the Obama administration 25 times.

KUT's Emily Donahue checks that statement with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s Politifact Texas project.

KUT News

As the legislative session comes to a close, no one knows yet if the next state budget will include across-the-board pay raises, but a workers groups claims state workers haven't seen a raise in years.

The Texas State Employees Union said on their website that most state workers haven't seen an uptick in wages since 2009.

KUT News

Some public school students are taking state mandated tests this week. Do Texas schools lose 45 days a year to that testing, as one politico claims?

KUT News' Emily Donahue discussed that question is the Austin American-Statesman’s political fact checker, Gardner Selby.

KUT News

While campaigning for background checks with gun purchases, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell referenced polls showing public support for the policy.

Mayor Leffingwell joined a press conference supporting background checks in March – and said 90 percent of Americans and 74 percent of National Rifle Association members support universal background checks.

KUT News

A Travis County state lawmaker says dogs and cats are still being euthanized by carbon monoxide poisoning.

KUT’s Emily Donahue checked that claim with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s Politifact Texas reporting project.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Sebastian Junger has written bestselling books including The Perfect Storm. His documentary, "Restrepo" was nominated for an Oscar.  But none of his works was as personally powerful as the film he’ll introduce tonight at the LBJ Library.  

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Jamie Mason’s first novel is called Three Graves Full. It’s part mystery, part thriller and part slapstick comedy of errors. And Jamie Mason is getting rave reviews.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

It’s been more than 11 years since the United States' war in Afghanistan began.  Nearly 20,000 U.S. military men and women have come back injured from the war.

Every one of those injuries has a story behind it.  Some were collected by Christine Dumaine Leche, a creative writing teacher at Austin Community College. She left her home and family to work with soldiers in Afghanistan, helping them to write about their experiences in a long and historic war.

KUT News

On Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report,” a political adviser said improvements in voter registration and turnout could help Democrats win statewide in what has long been Republican-leaning Texas.

KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry is holding firm to his decision to rebuff any Medicaid expansion under the federal health care law. One lawmaker says expansion is necessary – because Texas has six million uninsured residents– and that makes the state No. 1 in the nation.

How true is that statement?

Random House

Galveston Island is famous for many things: miles of beaches, its many festivals and Victorian architecture – and its sea wall – that was built after the hurricane of 1900. That was the deadliest hurricane in US history – and it rewrote the history of Galveston.

Texas author Elizabeth Black has set that famous hurricane at the center of a mystery in her first novel, “The Drowning House." Just as Galveston’s modern history is built on the foundation of the great hurricane, so is the narrative, set moodily in the city’s historic district. 

Austin is home to a lot of weird stuff: bat tributes, floating marching bands, Hippie Hollow. In his new book, Dreams and Shadows, Austin author C. Robert Cargill delves deep into the dark heart of the city’s inner weirdness, using a little myth and legend as punctuation for a truly unique story. He spoke with KUT’s Emily Donahue about his work and his inspiration.

KUT News

A Travis County Commissioner says local prosperity is shadowed by rising poverty. In this week’s PolitiFact check-in, KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke to Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas.

PolitiFact tackled a claim by Travis County commissioner Sarah Eckhardt who, in an email, said conditions are tough despite "present prosperity."

KUT News

In this week’s Politifact: a fact check that started with a KUT News report.

Emily Donahue with KUT News spoke with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitFact Texas team. It all started with a KUT News report on Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s push for non-stop flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Europe. We quoted Austin lawyer Pete Winstead, who said Austin is the biggest city in the country without a nonstop flight to a European capital.

KUT News

Capitol watchers predicted that this year’s Texas legislative session would be rife with talk about K-12 education. That’s turning out to be the case. The talk was expected to revolve around restoring funds cut in 2011, but right now it’s about high school curricula.


Tracy Chevalier spent years researching her famous novel The Girl with a Pearl Earring, a fictionalized backstory of the woman behind the famous painting by Vermeer. She did the same thing for her latest novel, The Last Runaway, a story that takes an outsider’s look at American slavery during the mid-19th century. A young Quaker named Honor Bright sails from England bound for a new life in Ohio. From the moment she boards the ship, her adventure is nothing like she imagined.

KUT News

By the state’s own reckoning, Texas’ population increased four percent  increase from 2011 to 2013.  And Lawmakers cut education spending by more than $5 billion last session. But Gov. Rick Perry says education spending has outpaced statewide enrollment growth, and by a wide margin.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

KUT’s Emily Donahue sat down with the author of a book unlike any other you may have read. It’s a short story collection with stories as short as a page and a half – but an impact that lingers for days. The book is "Tenth of December" and the author is George Saunders, who is widely acclaimed as one of the most important writers of our time.