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

Photo by Keystone Pipeline System

Congress is working today on a payroll tax extension plan, but House Republicans could dash their own hopes for the Keystone XL Pipeline if they refuse to pass the deal approved by the Senate Saturday.

Williamson County OEM

Cleanup from the accident earlier today in Hutto is wrapping up. The Williamson County Emergency Management Office reported this afternoon that:


Some Austin Latinos spoke out against AISD’s proposal for an in-district carter school managed by IDEA public schools.  YNN Austin reports that,

Activists gathered Saturday to call for IDEA Charter's CEO to withdraw his proposal and to send a message to the school board.

"They are supposed to be administering quality public education for our students. If they can't do that then they need to go. They need to turn in their resignations," one demonstrator said.

Photo by Emily Donahue/KUT News


Austin Bergstrom International Airport is prepping for a heavy travel day. Just as in the day before Thanksgiving, today is one of the heaviest travel days of the year. And showers and thunderstorms along the East Coast may delay some travelers. So be forewarned - bring a book, a Kindle, an iPad or maybe some other gadget to pass any delays. Oh how did we travel before technology?

Has Autumn at last arrived in Austin? It's going to be a breezy, chilly day today. After dropping to nearly 30 overnight, highs today are expected to reach the mid-fifties. Bundle up!

It's another dry day in Austin and that means the weather is again the top story. But today, it's for good reasons! It'll be in the mid-to-high 80's with plenty of sun. Tonight, lows in the 50's. Although, if you suffer from allergies, molds are high and ragweeds are out too.

Of course, Longhorns fans would argue that UT's big win over Iowa State is the top story. Those Horns just steam rolled the Cyclones. This morning, the Austin America-Statesman's Mark Rosner said the win was down to turnover. 

Photo illustration by Daniel Reese for KUT News.

The world markets went into free fall today. All major indices fell, the Euro slumped and the dollar rose. Even gold fell. All the turmoil spurred local entrepreneur and business journalist, Mark Dewey, to put it all down...in a poem. Check it out:


A market crash is something like a giant gash

inside my soul.   I was wrong, now I pay,

or maybe I was right but didn't say or didn't take the necessary steps.


"I told you so" I tell myself.  I knew Europe would take us down.

Photo by Reshma Kirpilani for KUT News and ReportingTexas.com

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst will ask the federal government to declare a major disaster in Texas due to the wildfires burning across the state.

Dewhurst toured some of the damage and met with some evacuees in Bastrop today, where the worst fire is still not fully contained. Afterward, Dewhurst told the press, "I am signing the request for major disaster relief for Texas to be declared a national disaster because of these fires."

More than 34,000 acres have burned and the Texas Forest Service says as many as a thousand homes have been lost in the Bastrop fire alone.


The world will know by Monday morning how the international markets react to Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating  to a “AA+,” a notch below what’s considered a risk-free investment.

Two other credit rating agencies had left the U.S. rate unchanged.

Standard and Poor’s based its decision on the political logjam in Washington, saying lawmakers did not seem able to overcome “a contentious and fitful process.”

Photo by Emily Donahue for KUT News.

It’s already been a long, hot summer. And it’s only the 4th of July weekend!

The weather forecast for the rest of the holiday weekend? What else? Hot! Although Sunday there’s a slight chance that southerly breezes from the Gulf could trigger scattered late afternoon showers. Temperatures are expected to be at or near the century mark Sunday and Monday.

The memorial service for 20 year-old Byron Carter, Jr. will be held Friday June 2 at 2:30 at Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Carter was shot and killed by APD Officer Nathan Wagner. Carter was a passenger in a car with a 16-year old driver who allegedly hit another officer and pinned Wagner, who then fired shots into the car, killing Carter and injuring the 16 year-old driver, according to an APD press release.

Capitol Portrait courtesy of the Texas State Preservation Board. http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/spb/gallery/govs/49.htm

Former Texas Governor William "Bill" Clements has died. He was 94.

Clements was born in 1917 and served in the Nixon and Ford Administrations in Washington as well as two rounds as Texas Governor.  His first election was historic - he became the first Republican elected governor since Reconstruction.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News.


Legislators passed a new, very tight state budget Saturday night – one that conservatives hail as a fiscally responsible victory that shows the state can make tough choices in hard times and which democrats decried as a long list of poor choices that will hurt students from Pre-K through college, families and those with disabilities.

Photo By Emily Donahue

The Texas House gets back to work on the next state budget today. Lawmakers worked late Friday and into Saturday on the $164 billion dollar bill. And though there were passionate debates over which programs to save, the Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey reminds us the next state budget won't be pretty - for anyone,

Photo from Dan Neil's campaign website. http://www.texansfordan.com/

Dan Neil has withdrawn from the battle for Texas House District 48. 

In a statement released this afternoon, Neil said,

The new director of Austin’s Town Lake Animal Center is committed to keeping Austin a “no-kill” city.  Abigail Smith, formerly of the Ithaca New York SPCA, took the helm at TLAC this week and said her first priority is to simply understand where things stand at the shelter.

Photo by Callie Hernandez/KUT.

By a vote of 6-1, the Austin City Council today approved charging fees for street parking downtown on evenings and weekends.

The vote extended paid meter downtown until midnight weekdays and all day Saturdays.  Parking meters elsewhere in the city will be enforced from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 

The extended meter hours will take effect sometime after August.

IH 35 Reopens

After weekend construction at the intersection of Ben White and IH35 had drivers taking detours, TxDOT said the intersection will be reopened by this afternoon. Meantime, area tollways are still toll-free during construction.

AISD Emergency Work Session Monday

Photo by KUT News

Heightened Security for Top State Office Holders

In the wake of the Arizona shootings last weekend, eyes have turned to state legislatures, many which have convened in the past week, to see how lawmakers would react. Here in Texas, state police appear to have beefed up their presence at the Capitol building. As Ross Ramsey reports in today's Texas Tribune, "of course, this being Texas, if you present a concealed-handgun license, you can come into the Capitol with or without your weapon and skip security entirely. There are other checkpoints inside the Capitol if you want to enter the House and Senate galleries, where the public can sit and watch government in action. Firearms aren’t allowed there."

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Christmas Vacation's Clark Griswold meets his match in a dazzling Clarksville lights display.

Each December, there's one tradition that just sort of defines what it means to "Keep Austin Weird." And you can find it right in front of 66 year-old Willis Littlefield's Clarksville home on 12th street just west of West Lynn. If you stop by, you're sure to get a candy cane... and a tour of the dazzling light show from the man himself.

Photo courtesy the City of Austin Website

The Trail of Lights has hit a wall...at least for this year and until the city's budget recovers.  But Austin’s Zilker Tree is lighting the Zilker hill side up, as it has since 1965. Each year, thousands of Austinites travel to the historic holiday display to take a spin, and then another, and another under its lights.

The city website says the Zilker tree is 155 feet tall and has 39 streamers. Each holds 81 multicolored, 25 watt bulbs, totaling 3,309 lights.

The Zilker Tree is lit every night through December 31. If you can’t make it there, take a spin here.