News Director, Anchor
Panama City Beach, Fla.
Donna Bell is the News Director at WJHG/WECP. She also anchors "NewsChannel 7 at 11 a.m."
Donna was promoted to the News Director role in February 2014 and anchored “NewsChannel 7 Today” for 13 years. She started her Broadcasting career at WJHG in June 1994, after graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.
Donna has reported on a wide range of stories and news events while at WJHG. She's covered several U.S. Presidential visits to Northwest Florida. She traveled to San Diego to follow a Panama City soldier injured in Iraq through his rehabilitation. She explored political topics in a journalism exchange program in Germany. She has reported from the cockpit of an F-16 with the Air Force Thunderbirds, and from the front lines of numerous tropical storms and hurricanes, including Hurricanes Opal and Ivan, which severely damaged the area. As News Director, she lead the team through Category 5 Hurricane Michael in October 2018.
Under her leadership, WJHG has won over 100 awards from the Associated Press, Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists, RTDNA’s Murrow Awards, The Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Top awards include a regional Murrow for Overall Station of the Year, and the NAB’s award for service-driven journalism, the Service to America Award. WJHG was named the top small market station in America for journalism that assisted the Florida panhandle following the devastation of Hurricane Michael.
Donna currently serves on the Advisory Board for the University of Florida’s College of Journalism, where she mentors future journalists. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists, and volunteers with the American Cancer Society, where she is a North Florida Area Board Member and serves on the Southeast Region Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Advisory Committee. She was a past chair and honorary chair of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, a cause she is especially passionate about after losing her mom to breast cancer. Donna also received the American Cancer Society’s Hope award for her efforts in informing the community about breast cancer awareness.
Donna can frequently be seen speaking at local events, ranging from women’s leadership groups to local churches and charities. When she’s not at work, Donna can usually be found at a baseball game, or traveling and enjoying time with her husband Dirk and their two sons, Brock and Brody.