Alumni and Friends

Sarah Donaldson lands job at the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau

When listening to the news breaks on WOUB radio, you’ve probably heard reports from Sarah Donaldson at the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau. If you think her name and voice sound familiar, you wouldn’t be wrong. You might recognize Donaldson because she worked in the WOUB Newsroom while she was a journalism student at Ohio University.

“WOUB prepared me for my career in so many ways,” said Donaldson. “I learned the value and importance of the in-depth reporting public media provides while working there. I remember when I was at WOUB and producing WOUB TV’s NewsWatch, we used information from the Statehouse News Bureau stories, and it was such an amazing source of information.”

Donaldson grew up near Pittsburgh. The daughter of two former television news reporters, Donaldson had journalism running through her veins. Knowing the reputation of Ohio University’s journalism school, Donaldson came on a college visit to Athens and fell in love with the campus. She came back for a second look and toured WOUB.

“I knew I wanted to work at WOUB,” said Donaldson. “I got involved at WOUB during fall of my freshman year. I originally thought I wanted to be a TV reporter. But things changed as I went through college. I did a print internship and learned about audio and digital reporting at WOUB.”

Donaldson worked on the WOUB podcast The Outlet, as well as produced, anchored and reported for WOUB’s NewsWatch. Donaldson was gaining valuable hands-on experience and figuring out exactly what she wanted to do with her career, when things came to a grinding halt.

“COVID hit,” said Donaldson. “And that defined some of my experience with WOUB. The students produced some content from home, but it was difficult and then when we did go back to campus, it was hard to get people back in the newsroom to work on NewsWatch. Because I was in the newsroom, I ended up doing a lot of reporting and anchoring.”

Outside of WOUB, Donaldson was exploring print and digital journalism, doing several internships during school breaks. She interned at several newspapers, participated in the Scripps Semester in DC program, and interned at the ABC News DC Bureau. After graduation, Donaldson did an internship with the Wall Street Journal.

When that internship was complete, Donaldson was hired as a digital reporter/producer at NBC 4 TV in Columbus. 

“I was there for about a year,” said Donaldson. “I did a lot of coverage of the Intel project. I covered technology and business. I also covered Columbus City Council pretty regularly, along with breaking news. I had the opportunity to do a lot of different stuff.”

But Donaldson missed on-air reporting, especially the NPR-style audio and radio reporting she got to do at WOUB. That’s when she saw the Statehouse News Bureau Reporter/Producer position posted.

“I always wanted to cover government and politics. I felt like this was a perfect mix of everything I wanted,” said Donaldson.

Donaldson got the job and started in October of 2023. In the short time she has been there, Donaldson has had the opportunity to cover many big stories with a tremendous impact on people across the state of Ohio.

“It’s been a very busy time at the statehouse with the coverage of the election on Issue 1, there’s been a lot of reporting on the legalization of marijuana with Issue 2. Politics and government touch so many parts of people’s lives.”

Donaldson says her experience at WOUB was a big part of why she was able to get the job at the Statehouse News Bureau. 

“WOUB prepared me in so many ways. I learned how to cut audio, cut video and pick out soundbites. All that technical experience was invaluable. I also learned skills about how to move quickly on my feet. I learned about storytelling and how to find stories,” said Donaldson. “I feel very strongly that you can’t do journalism school without being involved in hands-on experiential learning. The classes where I learned journalism were very important, but I was able to put them into practice at WOUB.  I also love public media and fell in love with it at WOUB. Everyone should have accessible journalism and that’s what public media provides.”

About WOUB Public Media

As a member station of both NPR and PBS, WOUB Public Media is a trusted source of news, local content and educational resources that have proven to be worthy of the time, effort and support of our users. WOUB, an experiential-learning unit of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, is a non-profit, community-supported multimedia organization which provides online and broadcast services, along with non-broadcast educational services and student professional development. WOUB serves 55 counties throughout southeastern Ohio, western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky with its broadcast signals. WOUB Radio’s FM Network has transmitters in Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Zanesville and Cambridge, while WOUB AM serves the immediate Athens area. WOUB TV is made up of seven television channels (WOUB HD, WOUB Classic, WOUB World, WOUB Create, WOUB Ohio, WOUB Kids and WOUB Voicecorps Reading Service) which are broadcast from two transmitters.

Through its support of public service, teaching, research and administrative missions, along with its high-quality local content and programming, WOUB enriches, enhances and expands the lives and horizons of the people in the communities it serves, as well as Ohio University faculty, staff and students.

February 21, 2024
Cheri Russo