Elizabeth Donald 


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2018-present

  • Pursuing masters degree in media studies as a teaching assistant
  • Graduation anticipated May 2020

The University of Tennessee at Martin, December 1997

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications, minor in theater
  • Previously attended the University of Memphis as BFA candidate in theater

Work Experience

Freelance/Donald Media, 2018-present

  • Freelance journalist for local and national publications
  • Art and nature photographer and per-assignment photojournalist
  • Editor and writing coach, working with small presses and beginning authors

Belleville News-Democrat, news reporter, 2000-2018.

  • Covered local territory in all respects, including police, city council, labor issues, courts and crime, elections/government, community development and spot news. Heavy emphasis on watchdog and public-service reporting, with frequent use of FOIA including court challenges
  • Worked on remote 2009-2017, operating outside the newsroom throughout the community
  • Education reporter, covering school boards, labor issues, ongoing trends and issues and extensive coverage of federal and state legislation and its effects on local schools; as well as higher education, with a focus on a major university and community colleges
  • Photography and videography for spot news and features 2012-present, including editing and coding for online
  • Early adopter of social media, for newsgathering and cultivation of sources as well as extending reach and promoting stories online
  • Liaison between the News-Democrat and the Latino Roundtable of Southwestern Illinois, 2006-2012
  • Popular-culture blogger, writing the CultureGeek blog with occasional print columns, 2007-10; continued as independent blog to present
  • Wrote an ethics code for the News-Democrat and continued working with management on refining the code for eventual implementation

NewsTribune (La Salle, Ill.), reporter/assistant city editor, 1998-2000

  • Covered the city of La Salle in all respects, including police, city council, education, community news and spot news
  • Political reporting, including local, state and federal politics, issue-oriented features and legislative analysis
  • Edited and laid out inside news pages two days a week and the opinion page one day a week
  • Wrote regular features and opinion columns
  • Shot news and feature photographs

Union City (Tenn.) Daily Messenger, intern/part-time reporter and news photographer, 1997

  • Began as intern; was eventually hired part-time through graduation
  • Wrote news stories and features, covering local, county and state events with some news photography
  • Correspondent for the city of Fulton, Ky., including city council meetings and major town events

UTM Pacer (university newspaper)chief copy editor and op/ed editor, 1996-98

  • Began as staff reporter/photographer in fall 1996; was promoted to associate news editor and eventually to chief copy editor and op/ed editor
  • Wrote campus news stories and features
  • Staff news photographer
  • Edited all Pacer copy, wrote editorials
  • Controlled content of the opinion page, including layout; assisted with design and paste-up

Honors and Certifications

  • Research on journalists’ depiction in film selected for presentation at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ midwinter conference, 2019.
  • Illinois Press Association Award, 2019
    – Educational coverage, first place with Alexis Cortes
  • Illinois Associated Press Media Editors Award, 2018 – Breaking News, second place with BND team
  • Illinois Press Association Award, 2017
    – Features, honorable mention
  • Illinois Associated Press Media Editors Award, 2017 – Breaking News, first place with BND team
  • Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, 2016
    – Scripps graduate in leadership and management skills
  • Illinois Associated Press Award, 2014
    – Community Service Journalism, second place with Jacqueline Lee
  • Illinois Press Association Award, 2011
    – Best School Coverage, second place with Scott Wuerz
  •  Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship, 2010
    – Society of Professional Journalists
  • Illinois Press Association, 2010
    – Best School Coverage, third place with Rickeena Richards
  •  Media Award from the Hoyleton Foundation, 2008
    Honoring coverage of the Latino population
  •  Southern Illinois Editorial Association Award, 2003
    – Best Education Story, second place, with Tania Lopez
  • Southern Illinois Editorial Association Award, 2001
    – Best Education Story, first place, with Jaime Ingle
  • Wayne Tansil Award for Journalism, 1997
  • UTM Dean’s List, Fall 1996 and Summer 1997

Speaking Engagements

Frequent guest lecturer at area universities and regional conferences on the practical application of journalism ethics in a daily news environment and development of a personal ethics code, as well as the changing nature of journalism in the age of the internet and depictions of journalists in fiction. Speaking engagements include:

  • Washington University, St. Louis, multiple occasions
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, multiple occasions
  • Excellence in Journalism speaker and/or delegate 2009-10, 2014-present
  • St. Louis SPJ Student Boot Camp, “Personal Code of Ethics,” 2013, 2016-present
  • SPJ Region 7 conference, “Practical Ethics,” 2018
  • Illinois Community College Journalism Association, “Developing a Personal Ethics Code,” 2017
  • SPJ Region 7 conference, “A personal ethics code,” 2017
  • Write On Fest, Collinsville, Ill. 2017
  • journalismSTL, “New Skills for a New Millennium” and “A Practical Ethics Code,” 2016
  • Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity, “Revising the Ethics Code,” 2016
  • journalismSTL, “New Skills for a New Millennium,” 2016
  • Missouri History Museum/SPJ, priest abuse coverage roundtable, moderator, 2016
  • SPJ Region 7 conference, “Practical Ethics,” 2016
  • St. Louis SPJ News at Noon, “Ethics and the Kirkwood Lockdown,” 2014
  • Mid-America Press Institute, “Practical Ethics,” 2014
  • SPJ Region 7 spring conference, “Practical Ethics,” 2013
  • Kimmel Leadership Speaker Series, “Analyzing Public Perception of Media,” 2011
  • SPJ Region 7 spring conference, “A Personal Code of Ethics,” 2011
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ Commission on the Status of Minorities, “Mainstream Media Coverage of the Islamic Community: 10 Years After 9/11,” panel discussion, 2011
  • St. Louis SPJ Student Boot Camp, “Practical Ethics,” 2011
  • St. Louis SPJ News at Noon, “Ethics in Disaster Coverage,” moderator, 2010
  • Kimmel Leadership Speaker Series, “Newspapers in Evolution,” 2010
  • St. Louis SPJ News at Noon, “Author/Journalist Roundtable,” 2010
  • SPJ Region 7 spring conferences, “Mobile Journalism,” 2009

Society of Professional Journalists

  • President of the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, 2015–present. Previously served as vice president for three years, then stepped down in 2012 to direct scholarship program fundraising until elected president.
  • Member of the national SPJ Ethics Committee since 2010, writing occasional “ethics toolbox” articles for the national journalism trade magazine Quill, as well as online pieces on behalf of the ethics commission on various topics. Member of the team that developed and rewrote the SPJ Ethics Code in 2013-14, a year-long project that reviewed current applications of journalism ethics in modern newsroom environments and rewrote the code in an intensive workshop in Columbus, Ohio. As delegate to the national convention in 2014, worked with team members to explain the code changes to other delegates and succeeded in getting it passed by the membership.
  • Founded and directed the SPJ Traveling Book Fair, which repurposed review books and donated books for fundraising.
  • Other projects: annual Student Journalists’ Boot Camp; fundraising events; monthly programming for News at Noon luncheon series; helped plan two regional conferences.
  • Wrote successful grant proposal for the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation to fund public showing of the film Spotlight with post-film roundtable discussion in cooperation with the Missouri History Museum in 2016.
  • As SPJ chapter officer, authored statements on behalf of the St. Louis Pro chapter in advocacy of the New Voices Act in 2016; in favor of changing the Associated Press Stylebook to remove “illegal immigrant” as an appropriate usage in 2013; in opposition to renaming an award originally named after journalist Helen Thomas in 2011.
  • Initial recipient of the Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship to Excellence in Journalism in 2010. While attending, spoke on a panel as an expert in journalism ethics along with former Knight Ridder vice president Jerry Ceppos, law professor Jane Kirtley and Stacey Woelfel of RTDNA.
  • Judged SPJ’s Mark of Excellence awards, 2019.

Other Professional Credits

  • Assisted the SIUE Alestle for summer 2019 with copy editing and development of special projects, such as FOIA investigations and source directories.
  • Judged student-journalism competitions for students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville under the coordination of Prof. Tammy Merrett, 2011 and 2014; judged a feature-writing competition for SIUE students as sponsored by a grant from the SIUC Center for Intergenerational Leadership, as obtained by Dr. Donna Hale, SIUE, 2008.
  • Serves on board of directors for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s student newspaper The Alestle as representative of local press, 2011-present with the exception of summer 2019.
  • Published fiction author of novels, novellas and short stories. Director of the Literary Underworld, a cooperative of small-press authors promoting and selling each others’ work. Three-time winner of the Darrell Award for horror fiction; finalist for the Prism and Imadjinn awards.
  • Frequent guest speaker at popular-culture conventions nationwide, discussing trends in the horror and science fiction genres, social media and its impact on publishing, the future of genre fiction publishing and the writing life.
  • Member, Missouri Writers Guild

Other Volunteer Work

  • Chairman of the Eville Writers, helping beginning and newly-published writers develop and promote their work. Coordinator of regular book signings and author events in the St. Louis region.
  • Director of the Literary Underworld, a cooperative of small presses and their authors in promoting and selling each others’ work, maintaining the organization’s blog and website as well as coordinating sales at conventions.
  • Vestry member at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2013-15; choir member since 2004
  • Relay for Life team captain 2008-present (American Cancer Society)
  • BSA Cub Scout den leader and committee chairwoman, 2007-2012
  • Edwardsville Orchestra Boosters, member, 2013-2016.


Journalism Portfolio:

Photography Portfolio:

References available upon request