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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. 

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.

Image courtesy iwatchnews.org

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

A Disparate Education

Feb 21, 2012

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.

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.  

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.

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.  

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. 

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:

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.

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.

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

I’m traveling through Pakistan with nine other journalists from various news organizations in the United States. The International Center for Journalists is sponsoring this trip as part of its three-year program to expose journalists from both countries to each others’ newsrooms and foster better understanding between the two countries.

It’s been a wild trip so far. Since we’ve arrived in Islamabad, we’ve met with the head of Pakistan’s Planning Commission, the Pakistan Press Council, the National Defense University, the Ministry of Information and Broadcast, Dawn Newspaper TV and Radio, the editor of the News International, Pakistan Television Network, and several other places.

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

We met with officials at the Pakistan Planning Commission early today. It is the site of Pakistan’s first on-site solar power installation. It is funded by Japan.   

This installation and another will produce power for the “B” block of government offices, with excess flowing into the grid.  Pakistan has an extremely unreliable energy grid. Rolling power outages are common is Islamabad.

I’m traveling through Pakistan with nine other journalists from various news organizations in the United States. The International Center for Journalists is sponsoring this trip as part of its three-year program to expose journalists from both countries to each others’ newsrooms and foster better understanding between the two countries.

Here are the people in the group: Bob Gabordi from the Tallahassee Democrat, Gregory Victor from the  Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Joe Little with 10 News in San Diego, Nancy San Martin with the Miami Herald, Odette Yousef from WBEZ in Chicago, Richard Gootee from the Evansville Courier & Press, Mark Seibel from McClatchy News, Stephen Magagnini from the Sacramento Bee, and Babar Taimoor from the International Center for Journalists. 

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