About Me

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning multimedia and investigative journalist. She currently works for WNAV News, where she hosts the weekly radio program, “1430 Connection.”

Prior to joining WNAV in 2015, Donna was a freelance journalist and photojournalist for many years with Associated Press, the Capital Gazette newspaper and Patch (American Online).  She also wrote for Sea Services Weekly (Washington Navy Yard), Sergeants Magazine (Air Force Sergeants Association) and Chesapeake Family Magazine. Her photographs have been used by the Washington Post, WNAV Radio, WTOP Radio, Fox 5 Washington, D.C., WMAR-2 News Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun, The Capital Gazette, Washington Redskins, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Siemens,  Bollinger Foundation, America’s VetDogs and the Annapolis Film Festival, among others.

Donna is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and for her service, she was awarded the National Defense Service Medal (Gulf War/Operation Desert Shield), Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Overseas Service Ribbon and Cold War Recognition Certificate. Donna began her journalism education at Boston University prior to enlisting, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and English from the University of Maryland University College shortly after leaving the Navy.

The journalism work Donna is most proud of has been her coverage of the bald eagle poisonings on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In the spring and summer of 2018, she broke the story about carbofuran, a federally banned pesticide, being illegally used and resulting in the death of 13 bald eagles – this reporting led to global news coverage. Donna continued her reporting about the bald eagle poisonings through 2019 and into 2020, exposing what she has referred to as a “dirty little secret, which has been happening on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for decades.  For her reporting work on the eagle poisonings, Donna received the 2019 and 2020 Society of Professional Journalists DC Pro Chapter Dateline Awards for Investigative Journalism, the 2018 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association Outstanding Enterprise Journalism award and the 2019 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association award for Documentary-In-Depth Reporting. It was also announced  a bill to ban to the possession of carbofuran would be introduced during the 2019/20 Maryland Legislative Session, however efforts were delayed until next session. 

Donna has also received the following from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association:

  • Outstanding Talk Show award (2015)
  • Outstanding Public Affairs Show award (2016)
  • Finalist Outstanding Public Affairs Show (2017)
  • Finalist Multimedia/Online Journalism (2017)
  • Finalist Outstanding Public Affairs Show (2017)
  • Outstanding  Digital News Project (2018)
  • Outstanding Digital Feature Project (2018)
  • Multimedia / Online Journalism (2018)
  • Outstanding Public Affairs Show (2019)

Donna is a breast cancer survivor.  She often writes and speaks about a problem afflicting many, including her – mastectomy nerve damage, which can cause permanent, debilitating pain

In her spare time, Donna enjoys wildlife photography and traveling. She’s also a volunteer bald eagle nest monitor for the Maryland Bird Conservation Partnership.

Donna’s favorite quote is by the late 60 Minutes Correspondent Bob Simon who said, “We would like to see wild animals survive. That’s one of the few editorial positions we can take and get away with. And anyone who disagrees with us – feel free to write a letter.”