Christopher O'Donnell

Freelance Blog Writer & Writer

Location:Tampa, Florida, United States
2 Skills
Award-winning journalist with 10-years experiences as a paid writer and a flair for all kinds of writing. I write for a daily newspaper, a blog and a website. I also have extensive editing experience.

2008 – Current Education Reporter Sarasota Herald-Tribune
As the Herald-Tribune’s sole education reporter, covered two school districts and several higher education institutions, frequently putting education on the front page with compelling regional stories and in-depth investigative pieces that made schools safer and led to changes in district policy. My stories:
- Exposed how problematic substitute teachers were banned by some schools but were still working at others where principals were unaware of their disciplinary history.
- Revealed that after creating a legal department with two attorneys and legal assistants, Manatee County School District still spent more than $100,000 per year for five years on outside attorneys.
- Uncovered that the technical school director continued running the school during her one-month “retirement,” which enabled her to get retirement benefits before being rehired as a double-dipper.

2005 – 2008 General Assignment Reporter Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Led the Herald-Tribune’s coverage of North Manatee during the real-estate boom, telling the stories of newcomers and long-time residents whose once-rural community was changing beyond recognition. Unearthed stories like the local chosen to build the show-jumping obstacles for the Beijing Olympics, and a woman entered in a contest to train a Nevadan wild mustang in 13 weeks. Produced numerous front-page stories from a micro-local beat while consistently scooping the competition on its home turf.

2002 – 2005 Reporter/Editor-in-Chief The Oracle, University of South Florida
Elected Editor-in-Chief by staff at The Oracle. My story on struggling artists for a USF multi-media class was published in The Tampa Tribune and on and broadcast on WFLA.

1993 – 2001 Analyst-programmer Citibank/IBM/National Westminster Bank, London
In England, worked as a successful COBOL analyst- programmer for several major corporations developing and enhancing computer systems used to process deals and transactions that daily totaled millions of dollars.

2002–2005 University of South Florida B.A., magna *** laude in journalism
1982–1984 London College of Printing BTEC National Diploma, business and communications

Honors and Awards
- Florida Society of Newspaper Editors 2012 second place for beat reporting
- Garner Rose O’Brien Halderman Endowed Scholarship for outstanding journalism students (two-time recipient)
- Samuel Y. Fustukjian Memorial Scholarship 2004
Skills (2) Rating
Blog Writing