Gary O'Donoghue

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Gary O'Donoghue
Norfolk, England
EducationWorcester College for the Blind
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Notable credit(s)
BBC News
TitleChief North America Political Correspondent for BBC News
Partner(s)Sarah Lewthwaite

Gary O'Donoghue is an English journalist, currently working for BBC News in Washington, D.C. as their chief North America political correspondent. It has been claimed that he is the only blind broadcast journalist in Britain, although there is also Peter White.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gary O'Donoghue's father was a semi-professional football player who also worked as a taxi driver, and his mother taught ballroom dancing. O'Donoghue was born partially sighted, but went totally blind by the time he was eight.[2] He was educated at Worcester College for the Blind (then a boys' boarding school though it has since merged with the similar girls' school),[3] where he played blind football for England. O'Donoghue then attended Christ Church at Oxford University, where he read philosophy and modern languages.[2]


Given work experience at the BBC,[4] his first job was working for a braille production department, where he was asked to operate the photocopier.

O'Donoghue joined the BBC on graduation, becoming a junior reporter on BBC Radio 4's Today programme; at one time, he was asked to bungee jump off Chelsea Bridge.[2] During his career, he has covered stories for BBC News in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the U.S. In 2004, O'Donoghue became a political correspondent based at Westminster, reporting across the media of radio, television, and internet.[2] From October 2011, O'Donoghue was the Chief Political Correspondent for BBC Radio 4 replacing Norman Smith, primarily reporting for the Today and PM programmes.

In 2007, he broke the story that new UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown was returning early from holiday to deal with an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Surrey.[5] However, BBC News at Ten deputy editor Daniel Pearl handed the story to June Kelly, which, in 2008, resulted in an out-of-court five-figure payment to O'Donoghue on grounds of disability discrimination.[5]

At the 2014 BBC News Festival, it was revealed that O'Donoghue would be moving to Washington DC, as chief North America political correspondent for BBC News. Since which he has covered US politics and the Donald Trump White House.[6] Between assignments, in summer 2014 he toured UK universities, telling journalism students about his time in the business.[7]

Personal life[edit]

O'Donoghue and his partner, Sarah Lewthwaite, have a home in Yorkshire, and one daughter.[2][3][8]


  1. ^ "Gary O'Donoghue: 'My mother once thought of killing us". The Independent. 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bell, Matthew (22 February 2009). "Gary O'Donoghue: 'My mother once thought of killing us both, life was so hard'". The Independent. London. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b "BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Interviews – 13 Questions: Gary O'Donoghue". BBC. Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  4. ^ "A splash of political colour". Disability Now. October 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  5. ^ a b Revoir, Paul (7 September 2008). "Five-figure payout for BBC reporter taken off the TV news 'because he was blind'". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Profile – Gary O'Donoghue". The Group for Solicitors with Disabilities. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2008.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Norman Smith
Chief Political Correspondent: BBC Radio 4
Succeeded by
Ben Wright
Preceded by
Ben Wright
Chief Political Correspondent: BBC Radio 4
2012–2014 present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New Post
Chief North American Political Correspondent: BBC News
Succeeded by