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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Education
5:05 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Businesses Want Looser Graduation Rules

Test results and business pressure have lawmakers reconsidering graduation requirements.
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.

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Arts and Culture
5:30 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Runaway Slaves and a Community's Conscience

A young Englishwoman finds contradictions in 19th-century Ohio.
Credit Penguin

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.

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Education
4:57 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Perry: Texas Education Spending Had 'Phenomenal' Growth

Gov. Rick Perry does not see the need to restore public education aid
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.

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Arts and Culture
4:02 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

George Saunders Visits KUT

George Saunders is a MacArthur "genius grant" recipient and contributor for The New Yorker.
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.

Health
5:15 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Does Texas Rank Last in Mental Health Spending?

Texans gather outside the Capitol for a rally in support of mental health funding.
flickr.com/photos/ranchocanyon

Today President Obama is expected to release details of proposals from a gun violence task force convened in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.

In the days following Sandy Hook, many experts and pundits spoke of the need for better mental health care and screening.

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Health
5:48 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Checking Numbers on Orthodontia Spending

The state spent $184 million in 2010 on braces for kids under Medicaid.
via http://www.flickr.com/people/36948558@N03/

A new study by the Pew Center on the States gave Texas a D for its pediatric dental health, as a leading state legislator says the state of Texas spent more Medicaid money on orthodontia for children than all the other states combined.

The Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact unit wondered about that.
And KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke with Gardner Selby of the Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas to get the scoop.

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Health
5:53 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Does Texas Medicaid Spend Too Much on Braces?

Does Texas account for more Medicaid dental costs than any other state?

A new study by The Pew Center on the States gave Texas “D” for its pediatric dental health.  This as a leading state legislator says the state of Texas spent more Medicaid money on orthodontia for children than all the other states--combined.

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Austin
1:06 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Cold Enough to Freeze: Some Tips from AWU

It could be cold enough for pipes to freeze tonight. The Austin Water Utility is warning homeowners to take precautions.

The weather forecast says temperatures around Austin will dip into the 20's tonight. Austin Water Utility is reminding homeowners about the importance of protecting water pipes in such conditions. In a release today, the utility wrote:
 

Before Freezing Weather

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Austin
7:38 am
Thu December 20, 2012

High Winds Complicate Firefighting in Austin

High winds are making for tough firefighting at several blazes around Austin.

High winds quickly escalated three fires in the area overnight. They have kept firefighters in Austin and Williamson County busy. Williamson County firefighters are taking the lead on a fire at the International Apartments near Copper Creek Drive and Pond Wood Road that has destroyed two buildings and forced evacuations of dozens of families. Lieutenant Josh Portie of the Austin Fire Department says the challenge has been the wind.

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Arts and Culture
6:07 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

SXSW Music Creative Director Passes Away

Photo by KUT News

The Creative Director for South by Southwest Music has died. Brent Grulke died this morning from surgical complications.

Grulke had worked at SXSW since its launch in 1987. He became the music festival's creative director in 1994.

In a 2005 interview with KUT's Jennifer Stayton, Grulke explained the best way to enjoy SXSW and not feel intimidated by the festivals mammoth lineup of bands.

"I always tell people that if there are a couple things that they really want to see - just find a couple of things that you really want to see," he said. 

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Arts and Culture
1:17 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Author Charlaine Harris on 'Deadlocked,' 'True Blood,' and What's Next for Sookie Stackhouse

'Deadlocked' is the second-to-last novel in the Stackhouse series.
Image courtesy Ace Books

Author Charlaine Harris may not be a household name, but her creation Sookie Stackhouse is. The spunky, problem-prone heroine of Harris’ supernatural fiction series – the inspiration for HBO’s hit series “True Blood” – is at it again in “Deadlocked,” the latest in the Stackhouse series.

Harris will be at BookPeople this Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. She recently spoke with KUT News about “Deadlocked,” achieving success after a tumultuous start, and her post-Stackhouse plans.

KUT News: “Deadlocked” is the twelfth in the Sookie Stackhouse series, correct?

Charlaine Harris: Yes, the twelfth, the penultimate book. I just felt like I had said everything about Sookie that I had it in me to say, and I really don’t like to extend the series when the heat isn’t in me.

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Politics
5:24 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Interview: Global Integrity’s Nathaniel Heller on Potential for Corruption in U.S. Statehouses

A map showing the State Integrity Index's scores for all 50 states.
Image courtesy iwatchnews.org

A study of state government safeguards against corruption gave Texas a barely-passing grade of  D-plus.

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Special Coverage
1:40 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

A Disparate Education

A garbage dump in southern Karachi, Pakistan. Some children who grow up here attend an NGO school nearby.

KUT News director Emily Donahue traveled through Pakistan with nine other journalists this month on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

Here in Austin, the concerns over adequate and equitable K-12 education are numerous: from education funding cuts under the 82nd legislature; math, science and other curricula; whether charter schools best serve all students in a district; academic testing for state standards; bilingual education. The list of challenges facing educators, legislators, agencies, parents and students is long and complicated. 

And yet, those issues pale in comparison to the education issues facing Pakistan. The issues are so great that most Austinites probably have no frame of reference.

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Special Coverage
2:59 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

Hookin' Em in Pakistan

Furrukh Khan, Assistant Professor Lahore University of Management Sciences and Emily Donahue

KUT News director Emily Donahue traveled through Pakistan with nine other reporters this month on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

In my whirlwind tour of Pakistan through Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, I kept running into Austin connections. A former University of Texas Fullbright Scholar in Lahore, a Public Affairs Graduate in Karachi (who told me of a failed Longhorn bar there), several businessmen with family ties in Austin, and a school for the poor, funded by Pakistanis in Austin, and named the Austin School.

You can see a couple of photos taken along the way above.  

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Special Coverage
12:06 pm
Wed February 8, 2012

The Lost Potential of Pakistan's Street Children

This girl sells roses on the beach in Karachi, Pakistan
Photo by Emily Donahue, KUT News

KUT News director Emily Donahue traveled through Pakistan with nine other reporters this month on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

In Pakistan, the poverty is breathtaking. This is a country of opposites. The rich are very rich, and the poor live in poverty unlike anything in the United States. People live by the millions – in crumbling buildings on the outskirts of cities, in tents, in windowless shacks with mud floors and cloth strung as roofs – side by side with animals; on the streets, in the parks, on garbage dumps, in canals; on dusty, empty roads, in fields. Alone and with families, among strangers, or not.

In this nation of 180 million people, with so many millions living in desperate conditions, it is the millions of children affected by this poverty that stirred my compassion and my frustration.

My first night here, I naively asked why so many children were on the streets alone in the daytime, and out, again alone, so late at night. Why aren’t they in school, I asked? Education is a complicated thing here, I was told. The system doesn’t work.

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Special Coverage
11:14 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Pakistan’s Media: Bringing Change at a Cost

This is what security looks like outside GEO TV, Pakistans largest TV channel
Photo by Emily Donahue, KUT News

KUT News director Emily Donahue is traveling through Pakistan with nine other reporters on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

Pakistan’s modern media outlets were launched in 2002 with the establishment of PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority). Since then roughly 2,500 media licenses have been granted.

There are 85 TV channels. Twenty of them are news. The vast majority of programming is delivered by cable with no subscription fees. Everyone we’ve spoken to – from government ministers to ordinary citizens and journalists -- says the media is playing a crucial role in developing Pakistan’s democracy.  

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Special Coverage
12:21 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

US Journalists Dance at Pakistan Museum

KUT News director Emily Donahue is traveling through Pakistan with nine other reporters on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

At a recent trip to the Pakistan National Heritage Museum, the journalists on our exchange program started dancing with local men and boys to the traditional music. (It is not customary for women to dance.) The event created camaraderie, much laughter, and made it into the local news. 

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Special Coverage
7:23 am
Tue January 31, 2012

Witnessing the Wagah Border Ceremony

Photo by Emily Donahue, KUT News

Today we did a lot of sightseeing and meetings in Lahore.  We traveled to the border with India to see the Wagah Border Ceremony.  It takes place every every evening at the border between Pakistan and India.

It was quite a wild ceremony. On each side of the border, crowds gather in the grand stands, beginning about an hour before the ceremony. We attended the evening flag lowering ceremony on the Pakistan side of the border.  

The Wagah Border slices through a village that sits in both India and Pakistan. It was divided in 1947 at “Partition” when Pakistan and India formally separated into two separate countries. Here's some background and video from PBS:

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Special Coverage
12:18 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

A New Take on a Classical Indian Instrument

KUT News director Emily Donahue is traveling through Pakistan with nine other reporters on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

You may be familiar with the sound of the South Asian sitar. It's a hanting, somewhat mesmerizing stringed instrument. At the Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts in Lahore they’ve adapted the instrument and molded it into the Sagar Veena.

From the Institute’s website:

Headed by Mohammed Riaz, a instrument-maker belonging to a family of craftsmen dating back to the 19th century. He, along with Raza Kazim and other members of the department, have set a two-fold precedent in the field of Instrument Making. One introducing the above mentioned knowledge in the production of ‘Sagar Veena’, a new musical instrument for Indian Classical Music.

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Special Coverage
7:54 pm
Sat January 28, 2012

Journey to Pakistan: A Land of Many Cultures

KUT News director Emily Donahue is traveling through Pakistan with nine other reporters on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.

Today, we went to the Faisal Mosque, the national mosque of Pakistan. It was funded in the 1960’s by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. It is situated at the base of the Margalla Hills in Islamabad. The mountains ring the city on the northwest and on the other side are Pakistan’s northwest territories. I was told that the Margallas were named for the thieves and bandits who, hundreds of years ago, hid in the caves and attacked, or hit (Mar) travelers and cut their throats (gullas). Although I’ve met with some skepticism from Pakistanis when I shared that story.

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