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

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Dan Neil has withdrawn from the battle for Texas House District 48.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

Photo courtesy of Laurence Parent.

Texas Parks and Wildlife today approved the purchase of land fronting the Devil's River.

As KUT previously reported, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners pulled the original Devil's River land deal at their November 4 meeting, after public feedback that the plan blocked access to the river.  

In a statement released today TPW said



Devil's River Land Deal Revised
Photo courtesy of Laurence Parent.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has scheduled a public meeting for December 20 on an updated version of the Devil's River land deal. The department's website includes maps of the area and other information on the proposed site.

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Heavy Travel Day

Today is another heavy travel day at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. And travelers who didn't have to go through tough security screening on the way out of town, likely will have to go through a body scanner or enhanced pat down if they're flying home from a big city airport.

Urban Rail


The annual Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade will tie up traffic downtown Saturday morning. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m.

Streets will close as early as 6 a.m. and will reopen around 2 p.m

San Jacinto Blvd. will close at 6 a.m., as will East 15th through East 10th and the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

Congress Avenue between 11th Street and the River will close at 9 a.m.

Photo by KUT News

A report from CQ Press shows the Austin-Round Rock Metro area is one of the safest in the U.S.

The most dangerous? St. Louis, Missouri.

Safest? El Paso, Texas.

Photo by KUT.

Black Friday may be the biggest day of the year for retailers. In Austin and surrounding areas, shoppers lined up almost before the Thanksgiving dishes were done, looking for deals at stores that opened as early as 10 p.m. Thursday.

Meryl Streep has been nominated for more Academy Awards than any other actor in the history of the Oscars.  Her roles ranged from the drama of "Silkwood" to the romance of "The Bridges of Madison County" to the musical comedy of "Mamma Mia."  But Friday she took on the role of mentor in a question-and-answer session with some Master's acting students at U-T.  She spoke with KUT's Ian Crawford before the session.

Shuttle Blasts Off
Photo courtesy of NASA

This week, KUT News reports on the past, present and future of manned space flight.

Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services wants input on its plan for a healthy county at a Town Hall Meeting on October 19th.

In Austin and Travis County, 1 in 5 adults is overweight. And the HHS department is trying to lower that statistic. Using funds from a state grant, the department is working up a 3-year plan with input from doctors, non-profits, schools and parents.