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Biography

Donna Francavilla is award-winning journalist and founder of Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC.

You may recognize Donna. She reported on pressing issues and breaking news stories in front of a camera when she filled-in as a local television reporter on ABC-TV affiliate WBMA-TV in Birmingham. She also reported for NBC 13 in previous years. You might have heard her anchoring on legendary award-winning all-news New York station WCBS 880 or reporting on CBS Radio.

For nearly 20 years, Francavilla covered the state’s biggest news stories for CBS Radio News – heard on hundreds of stations around the country.  She served as a guest columnist for the Radio Television Digital News Association’s (RTDNA) Communicator Daily. She currently serves as the president of Alabama Media Professionals and runs Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC.

Over the years, Francavilla has won numerous state and national journalist awards. She was named Alabama Media Professional’s 2016 Communicator of Achievement. The mother of four is listed in the 2015 edition of Positive Maturity’s Birmingham’s Top 50 Over 50.

Together with AMP colleagues, marketing and small business groups, she proudly aided in implementing several educational conferences including, “Navigating Today’s Media,” “Fixin’ to Write” and “A Whole New World.”

As a reporter, Donna reported on high-profile news stories from a variety of countries: Cuba (Voice of America: 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution); Germany (A 7-part series, NBC 13, Alabama’s Connection to Germany); Peru (CBS: Natural Disaster); France (CBS: Europeans on War); Spain (CBS: Easter) and most recently, Italy (CBS: The Canonization of the Popes), to name a few.

Francavilla served as the Italy Chair of Birmingham Sisters Cities, Birmingham International Center Co-Chair for Spotlight on India, and Public Relations and Marketing Director of the Feast of Saint Mark Italian Festival.  She volunteers as a lector at her church.  

Additionally, Francavilla served three terms on the Board of Directors of Leadership Shelby County, where she was a class representative and part of the alumni committee.

Francavilla is a graduate of Leadership Shelby County (2000) and Leadership Birmingham, (2010) and is expected to graduate with the 2019-2020 class of Leadership Hoover.

In 2006, Donna was elected by her peers as a Director-at-Large on the RTNDA Board.

Francavilla completed two Radio and Television News Directors Foundation International Journalism Fellowships (1999; 2006) after graduating with honors with a degree in Mass Communications from Emerson College in Boston in 1985.  

Published in Agence France Presse, among other international news outlets, Francavilla has been featured in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Shelby Living Magazine, Greystone Living Magazine,  H Life Magazine, The Birmingham News, B-Metro, Shelby County Reporter, Shelby County Reporter’s Profile Magazine and numerous other publications.

Recommendations

Donna is a critical practitioner of the electronic journalism profession, having demonstrated throughout her career the ability to tell a complete story with just the right combination of her words what we in the business call “natural sound.” Her incredible talent and skill are matched only by the depth and breadth of her expertise. Anyone who takes advantage of Donna’s advice, guidance or the actual practice of her abilities will be better off for it.


Dan Shelley
Chairman – (RTDNA) Radio Television Digital News Association

Mike CavenderDonna served on our Board of Directors for several years at the Radio Television Digital News Association. She was both diligent and innovative in her contributions to the leadership of our national professional organization. Donna is very experienced and talented in many facets of electronic journalism and media communications. Her work for CBS Radio and others consistently demonstrates a unique understanding of effective communications and the best ways to convey convincing stories and messages. I heartily recommend her work to anyone looking to effectively navigate the growing media landscape.

Mike Cavender
Executive Director at RTDNA/F

Marcy McGinnis Communications trainer:Media consultant: TV news executive: University administrator:professorDonna is a great reporter and writer, and a fabulous media trainer. Looking for somone who knows her stuff….delivers the goods…you’ve got it in Donna!
Marcy McGinnis
Communications trainer/Media consultant/ TV news executive/ University Administrator/Professor
Pamela Auerbach News Manager, Assignment Editor, and ProducerDonna was one of our go-to freelance producers when I was a Supervising Producer at CBS-TV “The Early Show.” She is resourceful and intelligent. Her professionalism, work ethic, and perseverance are great assets, She has the skills to find the story and get the right guests. She is self-sufficient, eager and a pleasure to work with.
Pamela Auerbach
News Manager, Assignment Editor, and Producer
Arleen Lebe Radio News Producer at CBS News“Call Donna.” It’s good to know that’s what we at CBS Radio can do when Alabama is where news of national interest is happening. She is versatile, fast, accurate, resourceful and always helpful on every kind of story. Tornado, hurricane, flood, politics, general news, feature-Donna can do it all. Whatever the assignment, Donna will deliver a story worth hearing. Arleen Lebe CBS Radio News producer.
Arleen Lebe
Radio News Producer at CBS News

Favorite Snapshots

Bio 9
2010-Hiking Machu Picchu in Peru shortly before reporting on damaging flooding..

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