Shop Notes

Remembering David Donald

Posted: Dec. 11, 2016 | Tags: data

It is with deep sadness that we bring you the news of David Donald's death. David died Saturday at Reston Hospital after a year-long battle with cancer. 

David joined SOC and the Investigative Reporting Workshop as a data editor and journalist in residence after a long professional career as an investigative journalist using data and social-science methodology on stories ranging from subprime lenders to the under-reporting of sexual assault on college campuses. One of his last projects for the Workshop involved an investigation into how federal meat and poultry inspectors sometimes fail to identify salmonella, a potentially deadly pathogen that makes more than a million Americans ill every year. 

As data editor at the Center for Public Integrity, his investigative stories ranged from how subprime lenders helped lead to the financial meltdown to the methods Medicare providers used to overcharge the government health-care program.  He also was a longtime trainer for Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, conducting more than 150 sessions for thousands of journalists in the United States and internationally.

He received the Philip Meyer Award twice for the best journalism using social-science methods; the James K. Batten Award; a Peabody Award; an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award; the Dart Award; and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He earned a master's in journalism from Kent State University and was chosen as a Poynter Institute media management fellow. Before coming to AU, David taught at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism Washington Program and at Savannah State University.

David's wife, Joyce, called him a wonderful teacher and dedicated journalist.  

"David was a wonderful teacher and dedicated journalist.  In his IRE days, I told David he was a circuited preacher….spreading the gospel of CAR!" she wrote in an email. 

"In humor I have been telling my family…….now David is in heaven teaching!"

David is survived by his wife and his son, Ryan. No funeral service is planned. There will be a celebration of his life and work in January, with details to be announced soon.


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