Kelly O'Donnell

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Kelly O'Donnell
Kelly O'Donnell at the 2016 DNC.jpg
Kelly O'Donnell reporting at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
Born (1965-05-17) May 17, 1965 (age 55)
Cleveland, Ohio[1]
EducationNorthwestern University, School of Education and Social Policy (SESP)[2]
Notable credit(s)
NBC News anchor, NBC Nightly News correspondent
Spouse(s)J. David Ake[2]

Kelly O'Donnell (born May 17, 1965) is an American journalist. She is a political reporter for NBC News as White House and Capitol Hill correspondent. She appears on NBC Nightly News, Today, Meet The Press, and MSNBC.


O'Donnell graduated from Northwestern University[3] in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, focusing on a combined course of study in journalism and public policy. She was the recipient of the Alumnae of Northwestern University’s 2014 Alumnae Award.[4]

She served as a reporter and anchor at WJW TV in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1990s. At this time, O'Donnell worked with former NBC reporter Martin Savidge when WJW was still a CBS station in Cleveland.[3]

O'Donnell was a regular panelist on The Chris Matthews Show until it was canceled.[5] She had served as news anchor and substitute host on the Weekend Today program and the weekend edition of Nightly News. She has contributed reports to the primetime news magazine Dateline NBC.[3] She served as White House correspondent for NBC News during the second term of George W. Bush; following the 2008 presidential campaign season, she became Capitol Hill correspondent.[3]

O'Donnell has covered the Bush Administration, Congress, and several presidential campaigns, to include most recently John McCain's in 2008.[6] In 2016, she was the first to report live on television that Hillary Clinton has called Donald Trump over the phone to concede the presidential election.[7] During the Iraq war, she was embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division, stationed in Baghdad and Qatar. In addition, O'Donnell has reported a wide variety of events, including the September 11 attacks, the space shuttle Columbia disaster, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the O.J. Simpson trial. O'Donnell reported on the travels and death of Pope John Paul II. She also covered both summer and winter Olympic games.[3]


O'Donnell was inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame in 2011[8] and the Ohio Radio/Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2004. She has received many honors, including Emmy awards, a National Headliner award, a New Hampshire Primary Award for Political Reporting, and Los Angeles Press Club awards.[3]

She has been based in Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles for NBC.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kelly grew up in Mentor, Ohio. She attended Villa Angela, a Catholic school in Cleveland, OH.

O'Donnell’s grandparents on both sides came from Ireland and she maintains Irish citizenship.[9] She is married to J. David Ake.


  1. ^ "Virgil Dominic".
  2. ^ a b "Alumni Bio". Northwestern Alumni Association. 2006-05-07.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Kelly O'Donnell biography". NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams. Archived from the original on 2004-02-15. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  4. ^ "Northwestern University's 2014 Alumnae Award". School of Education and Social Policy. Northwestern University. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  5. ^ "'Meet the Press' transcript for June 8, 2008". NBC News. 2008-06-08.
  6. ^ "Interview of the Vice President by Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News". The White House: Office of the Vice President. 2006-05-07.
  7. ^ Brian Stelter (2017-01-05). "In their own words: The story of covering Election Night 2016". CNN.
  8. ^ "The Press Club of Cleveland - Serving and honoring communications professionals since 1887 - Hall of Fame".
  9. ^ "The Top 100: Writers & media". Irish Abroad. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-04.

External links[edit]