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Matt O'Donnell

Matt O'Donnell
MATT O'DONNELL, weekday morning anchor for Action News, joined 6ABC in December, 1996.

Matt has lived in Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and upstate New York. However, he grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, and has spent more than 2/3rds of his life living in Pennsylvania. He has been an avid watcher of Action News since the first grade.

Download Matt's latest Deep Six podcast

Matt first developed a yearning to work in the news industry during high school. Victor Kryston, an English instructor, had some atypical teaching techniques, reminding him of Robin William's character in "Dead Poet's Society." Through Kryston, Matt developed a love of writing, news reporting, and television. Soon enough, Matt wondered, "why not combine all three, and go for a job in television news?"

He majored in English at the University of Delaware, with a concentration in Journalism, plus a minor in Political Science. Matt also held several positions at "The Review," the campus newspaper. Plus, he was a staffer at WVUD-FM, Delaware's campus radio station (at one time it was known as WXDR). Matt was elevated to the position of news director at the radio station his senior year.

Despite such a busy schedule (which of course included classwork), Matt also found time to do freelance writing for the Daily Local News, a newspaper published in West Chester. And he spent two summers interning at two different television stations: WLYH-TV in Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, and WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. Little did he know he would return to WPVI very soon...

Only days after graduating from Delaware, Matt was already beginning his career in television journalism. He moved to Binghamton, New York for a general assignment reporter job at WICZ-TV (then the NBC affiliate of that media market). And reporting was only a small part of his duties. Matt also worked as a fill-in anchor for news and sports, a public affairs show host, a news photographer, a videotape editor, an assignment editor, a TelePrompTer operator, and a studio cameraman. He was what some people refer to as a "one man band," being able to single-handidly find, report, record, write, and produce a story from scratch for the news. In fact, Matt says he learned more about television news in his first two days on the job, than he had learned his entire life.

Just over a year later, it was off to Syracuse, which happened to be 72 miles north on I-81 (at this rate, Matt figured his next job would be in Montreal). WSTM-TV hired him, and gave him a photographer this time to bring along. That made the news gathering process 100 percent easier. They also gave Matt opportunities to anchor the evening newscasts, plus more work in sports. But like Binghamton, his time in Syracuse was short. Philadelphia would be calling about a year after he arrived in the Salt City.

That call came in the summer of 1996. Channel 6 would hire him as a general assignment reporter. His first day of work came in December, when everyone was still talking about the legendary snowstorm that hit the previous winter (ironically, Syracuse didn't get a bit of snow from that same storm - and Syracuse gets more snow than any other large metropolitan region in the country).

Since his first day with 6abc, Matt estimates he has covered a news story in more than 95 percent of the many cities, towns, villages and borough that comprise the tri-state area. He has also filed stories for broadcast from across the country, and the world.

He was in California for the arrest of Michael Jackson; he was in New York City for the outpouring of emotion following the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.; he has followed the Eagles' several runs to the Super Bowl (he remembers the Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field in 2002 as being a highly satisfactory win); Matt accompanied Air Force reservists to England on their way to fighting the war in Afghanistan; he experienced the feeling of 7.5 G's and speeds higher than MACH 1 in a Blue Angels FA-18 flight; he spent weeks in the Washington area for the D.C. sniper investigation; he was back in New York City for the blackout of 2003; he joined staffers from the Philadelphia Zoo to observe the Golden Lion Tamarins in the Brazilian rain forest; he was in Queens for the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 (which happened only two months and a day after the September 11th attacks); and he covered both the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. During his career, Matt has interviewed several political and entertainment newsmakers. He was the first local television reporter to sit down and talk to both Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. Matt also spoke to Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign season.

Other notable interviews: former presidential candidate Ross Perot; Senator Hillary Clinton; Senator John McCain; former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee; the late Soul Man James Brown; and Peter Mayhew (the British actor who portrayed Chewbacca in Star Wars).

Matt's first political interview in his career was with Senator Joe Biden. It happened when Matt was still a student at the University of Delaware (it is unclear if Biden, a fellow U of D alum, remembers this).

Matt has also had the pleasure to host numerous televised events on Channel 6, including debates featuring mayoral, gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional candidates in our region, the Live 8 special, the Best of the Class, and a number of programs highlighting what is new at the Philadelphia Zoo.

He has served as a morning anchor for Action News Mornings since September of 2004. Matt is joined by his colleagues Tamala Edwards, David Murphy and Karen Rogers.

Matt lives with his wife and children in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Feel free to check in with the morning team on their own web page on 6abc.com.