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Prized Producer Deidre McDonald Speaks With Spelman Students

April 2017

Deidre McDonaldDeidre McDonald is an award winning producer, writer and educator. Her broadcasting career began as an intern; and ultimately she was named senior producer for programs and projects for WXIA-TV, (an NBC affiliate) where she produced and wrote documentaries and features that were shot locally, nationally and internationally.

For example, “Return to Goree”, filmed on Goree Island in Senegal, focused on the reflections of African Americans as they explored the meaning of the slave trade and its impact on their lives.  “Women Without A Place” examined the effect of homelessness on women and children.

McDonald co-produced the “Fernbank Magical History Tour,” a lighthearted look at Atlanta’s natural science museum.  She co-produced “Murder By Neglect,” a documentary centering on the missing and murdered children’s cases. Additional programming included covering the Atlanta Super Choir performances in Montreux Switzerland as well as programming shot in Jamaica and Martinique. While at WXIA-TV, she managed the For Kids’ Sake campaign, a multi-year sponsored project which targeted children’s programming and issues.

Selected awards include eight regional Emmy's, and over twenty-five Emmy nominations, an Alice Award conferred by the National Commission on Working Women, recognition by Parents Choice, a National Accommodation from the American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT), two Prized Pieces conferred by CEBA (Communications Excellence for Black Audiences) and an IRIS Award from the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NAPTE).  Recently, she was honored at the 2017 Georgia Entertainment Gala.

McDonald served as a curriculum consultant for Clark Atlanta University’s Host Broadcast Training Program. This unique project trained over 1200 students from 38 colleges for media positions for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

McDonald joined the University initially as program director for their television station and later as director of internships and special projects for the Division of Communication Arts. Positions at BET, MTV, Hallmark and Disney are just a few of the many intern placements she was able to initiate for students.

In addition, she was integrally involved with many of the university’s sponsored initiatives, ranging from producing a documentary on environmental justice to spearheading the public relations effort of a statewide health care project for senior citizens. She also produced two documentaries covering the European tour of CAU’s renowned jazz orchestra. She produced an educational series on the late jazz great Jackie McLean in conjunction with the Southern Arts Federation as well as a video teaching tool for small business owners in Zambia. In addition, diversity and the status of women faculty in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) was the subject of an extensive study. She provided media coverage of a conference sponsored by the University as well as co-authored a chapter for Doing Diversity in Higher Education published by Rutgers University Press.

McDonald was later named the project leader for the Georgia Entertainment Media (GEM) Work Ready Region, an economic development, education and industry initiative focusing on careers in radio, television, film, gaming and music for a seven county Atlanta region. Through collaboration with a variety of entities this workforce development program created  workshops for those in the entertainment field and helped to attract businesses to Atlanta. In addition, GEM funded educational events for high school and college students in related Career Pathways.  

Currently  McDonald is the founding artistic director of the BronzeLens Film Festival, an initiative complete with screenings, panels and master classes featuring filmmakers of color. It has grown from a four-day festival to year-round programming.

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