NPR’s Don Gonyea Headlines Speakers Series
Don Gonyea, acclaimed NPR White House Correspondent and National Political Reporter, teamed with his long-time friend and colleague, Austin American-Statesman columnist Ken Herman, to relate experiences detailing Gonyea’s growth from radio disk jockey to top tier radio broadcast journalist. Speaking to a full house at the Michele Kay Speakers event on February 7, Gonyea, whose name is of French-Canadian origins, said he knew it was time to re-frame his career when his country/western radio station manager proposed he change his air name to “Gonyea Twitty” to spice up his appeal. Instead, with no experience, he moved to fill a vacancy at the station’s one-man newsroom, mimicking the styles of the reporters he admired on the emergent NPR program “All Things Considered”, as he developed stories around local personalities, such as the infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Gonyea’s subsequent career with NPR saw him file reports from presidential campaigns, from the White House on 9/11 and from anywhere that in-depth reporting of difficult stories was needed.
Both Gonyea and Herman expressed their satisfaction at the resurgence of radio journalism as an important medium of journalism in the United States, and noted the symbiosis of radio news and the “new media” in providing rapid and dramatic coverage of breaking news events to broad audiences.