Kelly O'Donnell

NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent
Kelly O'Donnell
  • NBC News White House Correspondent during President George W. Bush’s 2nd term
  • Won an Emmy and a National Headliner Award for outstanding campaign coverage
  • Compelling and hard-hitting analysis of congressional culture, electoral politics, and the Washington political scene as a whole

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Kelly O’Donnell is a veteran political correspondent currently working a Pennsylvania Avenue beat for NBC News reporting from both the White House and Capitol Hill. She contributes to NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, TODAY, and MSNBC, and appears as a panelist on Meet the Press and The Chris Matthews Show. She has anchored NBC News broadcasts and produced long-form pieces for Dateline. From the Rose Garden to Baghdad, the Olympic Games to Capitol Hill, the scope of her assignments is uncommon and her reports have taken her to all 50 states and 48 countries.

During campaign season 2016, O’Donnell followed numerous candidates in both parties in long, contested battles. She was the only NBC News correspondent assigned to report on the campaigns of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Traveling more than one hundred thousand miles around the country’s battlegrounds gave O’Donnell unusual insight and context about the political landscape of an extraordinary year. O’Donnell broke a number of stories including the election night bulletin that Hillary Clinton had conceded to Donald Trump, the Democratic National Committee’s removal of its own party chairwoman at the convention, and the secret visit of Gov. Mike Pence to interview with Donald Trump to become his running mate. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, O’Donnell speaks with insight and ease about life spent in the trenches and in the political “war room.” Not only is she in the public eye, she is the public’s eye.

O’Donnell has covered six US presidential cycles and White House duty reporting on three presidents, including George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Her Capitol Hill reporting tracked the extended battle over health care, the rise of the Tea Party movement, the government shutdown, Supreme Court nominations, and bipartisan brinksmanship. She has reported on the speakerships of Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan. 

O’Donnell has covered numerous international stories. In Belgium, she covered the deadly terrorist attack at Brussels airport. In Iraq, she was embedded with the Third Infantry Division during operations in Fallujah in 2003. Among her varied experiences, she covered Britain’s Royal family including Queen Elizabeth’s 50th Jubilee, and followed Pope John Paul II on international tours. Domestic stories included the September 11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the OJ Simpson saga.

Among many honors, O’Donnell’s work on the 2008 US presidential election earned an Emmy and National Headliner Award. She received the 2009 New Hampshire Primary Award for political reporting. O’Donnell was inducted into the Ohio Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame in 2011. O’Donnell also received two first place awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for her feature reporting and was part of the Nightly News team honored with multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards. She has been honored with dozens of Emmy nominations. 

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Politics Today. A veteran of political journalism, Kelly O’Donnell addresses the state of politics today, forging a bond between current events and her audience. With a presentation as up-to-date as the news, she offers a compelling, hard-hitting analysis of congressional culture, electoral politics, beltway dysfunction, and the Washington political scene as a whole. She looks at both the White House and the Capitol, explaining what we can expect from politics during Obama’s second administration.

The American Presidency. If the most difficult position in the world is being the American President, then not far behind is the role of covering the president’s every move. Kelly O’Donnell began following the trail of the president in 1996, when she covered the Dole campaign. Since then, she has reported on candidates on both sides of the political coin racing to the White House. Her experiences on the road with candidates and elected presidents, including posing questions that cut to the heart of policies and the interests of the American people, have earned her the respect of her peers, as well as the commander in chief. In her presentation, O’Donnell talks with openness and grace about what lies ahead for President Obama as well as about her own experiences as a journalist writing about the leader of the free world.

Meeting The Press: Connecting Both Sides of The TV Screen. The role of a reporter is no longer to simply tell the stories of the day, but to ensure viewers can fully understand and relate to them. Kelly O’Donnell speaks about forging a bond between events and viewers. Her occupation has taken her into the depths of war-torn countries and into our living rooms. She discusses how her job has enabled her to cut away the degrees of separation between ever living person in the world. Her task is not simply covering events both historic and tragic, but making them relatable to the television audience. She explains how this is the news media’s ultimate responsibility and gift.

A Woman Roving Through A Male-Dominated Field. The glass ceiling has officially shattered in popular news media, and Kelly O’Donnell has contributed to the push. She skyrocketed to great success, having served as a top reporter for NBC News and winning shelves of awards for her accomplishments. But the life of a journalist has been decidedly paved by men until very recently. O’Donnell illustrates her own journey, and the significance of climbing the ranks—from decorated local reporter to NBC Nightly News and Today correspondent—to become a key member of the press corps who interviews the president and covers the most influential events before a world audience.

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