You’re most likely to find NPR’s Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what’s on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR’s National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
Gonyea has been covering politics full-time for NPR since the 2000 presidential campaign. That’s the year he chronicled a controversial election and the ensuing legal recount battle in Florida that awarded the White House to George W. Bush. Gonyea was named NPR White House Correspondent that year and subsequently covered the entirety of the Bush presidency, from 2001-2008. He was at the White House on the morning of Sept. 11, providing live reports following the evacuation of the building.
As White House correspondent, Gonyea covered the Bush administration’s prosecution of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the 2004 campaign, he traveled with both Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry. He has served as co-anchor of NPR’s election night coverage, and in 2008 Gonyea was the lead reporter covering Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for NPR, from the Iowa caucuses to victory night in Chicago.
Gonyea has filed stories from around the globe, including Moscow, Beijing, London, Islamabad, Doha, Budapest, Seoul, San Salvador, and Hanoi. He attended President Bush’s first-ever meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, as well as subsequent — and at times testy — meetings between the two leaders in St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Bratislava. He also covered Obama’s first trip overseas as president. During the 2016 election, he traveled extensively with both GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. His coverage of union members and white working class voters in the Midwest also gave early insight into how candidate Trump would tap into economic anxiety to win the presidency.
In 1986, Gonyea got his start at NPR reporting from Michigan on labor unions and the automobile industry. His first public radio job was at station WDET in Detroit. He has spent countless hours on picket lines and in union halls covering strikes at the major US auto companies, along with other labor disputes. Gonyea also reported on the development of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s assisted-suicide crusade, and the 1999 closing of Detroit’s classic Tiger Stadium.
He serves as a fill-in host on NPR news magazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Weekend All Things Considered.
Over the years, Gonyea has contributed to PBS’s NewsHour, the BBC, CBC, AP Radio, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He periodically teaches college journalism courses.
Gonyea has won numerous national and state awards for his reporting. He was part of the team that earned NPR a 2000 George Foster Peabody Award for the All Things Considered series “Lost & Found Sound.”
A native of Monroe, Michigan, Gonyea is an honors graduate of Michigan State University.