Donna Griffin has been going in circles. Her life marks a series of starts and returns. At the center of every circle sits writing.
Griffin’s connections to words has taken her across many careers including journalist, newspaper owner, teacher, non-profit creator, book author, and media company founder. But don’t confuse Griffin as living her life on repeat. With each revolution, she evolves – stronger, wiser, and more passionate.
After recently celebrating her 60th birthday, Griffin took time to reflect on 30 years of entrepreneurial endeavors, life’s ups and downs, and what truly connects us all.
What is your career timeline?
I started my career as a journalist with weekly newspapers. I worked as a reporter at Topics Newspapers, then The New Palestine Press. Eventually I achieved a lifelong dream to become a newspaper owner when I purchased the Pendleton Times with my husband. We owned the newspaper for seven years and sold it in 1996 when my husband’s job moved to Juarez, Mexico.
After relocating to El Paso, Texas, my life changed the day I saw a local newspaper ad, “Want to be a teacher in a year?” Six months later I was teaching journalism at Irvin High School in the El Paso Independent School District.
Our daughter Dani’s death sparked our move back to Indiana in 2007. I returned to the Pendleton Times-Post as the general manager. I then transitioned to teaching journalism, student publications, and English at my high school alma mater Arsenal Technical High School. During my nearly 10 years there, I also launched a 501(c)(3) called Dani’s Dreams Innovation in Education Corporation in honor of my late daughter.
Another lifelong dream happened with the publication of my children’s book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana in 2014. I published my second book Old Whiskers Escapes!: A Grandpa President Adventure in 2018.
What are you working on next?
I am taking “The Birth of The First Amendment” on the road for the holidays – for special author signings and interactive events in this state and the country. In 2020, I will be focusing on the next innovative media project! Griffin Media and Publishing uses the power of journalistic storytelling to connect families to their communities through children’s books and digital media.
Throughout my career, I’ve had rewarding, inspiring and diverse experiences. I’ve been privileged to see far-reaching changes in both journalism and education. Now, thousands of students and hundreds of publications later, I truly believe I’ve come full circle!
Thank you to The Startup Ladies for this article!
Experience & Background
- Master Jounalism Educator (MJE) through the Journalism Education Association
- 20 plus years experience as an educator: 1.5 years as the Student Media teacher at Shortridge High School; 8.5 years at Arsenal Technical High School; 6 months at Broad Ripple; 9.5 years at El Paso Independent School District, El Paso, Texas. Rated effective or highly effective each year.
- Diversity Sports Media Institute – On the steering committee for the Diversity Sports Media Institute at IUPUI and volunteered during web production in the summer of 2010 and 2011. Served on staff as web instructor in summer 2012 and 2013.
- University of Texas at El Paso – Editorial adviser of The Prospector, the weekly student newspaper at the University of Texas at El Paso.
- Author, “The Birth of the First Amendment,” 2019, “Old Whiskers Escapes,” 2018, and “Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana,” 2014/2017.
Learn more about Donna’s nonprofits:
Becoming an author is simply the coolest thing I’ve done in my career. I’m proud of the articles, columns, and digital blogs I’ve penned in my career, but they are all ephemeral.
My children’s books will stick around. Twelve Days of Christmas in Indiana has sold more than 10,000 copies and Old Whiskers Escapes! is in hundreds of classrooms and homes across Indiana. That’s the beauty of books – the connection.
Donna GriffinAuthor, Educator, & Nonprofit Promoter
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