Matt has stepped into just about every community in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys in his many years of street reporting, plus tackled assignments that took him across the country and around the world: California, Brazil, Nevada, England. He also headed into the skies in a life-changing flight with the Blue Angels. He has covered three political conventions (St. Paul and two in Philadelphia), interviewed two presidents (President Obama and President Trump) and covered countless pivotal stories that have shaped our region over the last two decades.
Beginning his career in upstate New York just days after graduating from the University of Delaware, Matt served as a do-it-yourself news reporter at WICZ-TV in Binghamton covering local news and politics - including the 1994 New York governor's race where he interviewed George Pataki, the eventual winner, twice. His next move brought him to WSTM-TV in Syracuse, New York where he tracked down an accused murderer for an exclusive interview, visited a community that saw 300+ inches of snowfall in one season and provided daily coverage of a gruesome series of deaths that one day became the basis of the cable series "Village of the Damned."
Matt's big break was when he was called back to Philadelphia to join the Action News team, a place he has worked at proudly ever since.
He joined the Air Force National Guard on a trip to England shortly after 9/11. He flew supersonic with a member of the Blue Angels over Atlantic City. He lived in the Brazilian rain forest for four days with experts from the Philadelphia Zoo to help protect the golden lion tamarin. He interviewed Barack Obama, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump when their presidential campaigns brought them to the region. He spent two days along the Jersey Shore awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene, which nearly became the first hurricane to hit New Jersey in more than 100 years. He has greeted Kevin Bacon, Morgan Freeman, Naomi Judd and James Brown during their visits to town. He has joined the Eagles on a playoff run, he was there for the Eagles and Phillies championship parades. He has visited nearly every town in the region, covering the triumphs, tragedies, highs and lows of Action News viewers throughout the years.
Matt joins Tamala Edwards, David Murphy and Karen Rogers every weekday morning from 4-7am to help the sleepyheads of the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys wake up, a news anchor position he has held since 2004. Matt and Tam also alternate as host of Inside Story where they engage panelists to debate the important issues we face and challenge newsmakers who make the decisions.
The True Philadelphia Podcast is Matt's most recent project where he sits down with the people who help mold the ongoing conversation on what is great about the Philadelphia area: Jay Wright, Madeline Bell, Larry Krasner, the original Phillie Phanatic David Raymond, Elena Delle Donne, Preston Elliot, Sharon Pinkenson, Tom Wolf, Charlie Dent. The podcast can be streamed on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and YouTube.
Matt lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with his wife, two children and dog Bailey. He plays drums in a local rock band and competes in a number of local golf tournaments. Matt still hopes to be the first reporter to do a live shot from Mars.
Re-imagining change in the fight for racial equality
Pastor Marshall Mitchell and Matt O'Donnell discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, protest and how to effect change in a positive way.
A discussion on racial injustice and police brutality
Experts on race matters outline ways to cope with the stress and ongoing race issues affecting America.
Mail-in ballots, precinct changes and other ways COVID-19 is impacting the PA Primary
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and City Commissioner Lisa Deeley offer a glimpse at how primary day will look across the state.
Action News Morning Team connect together on a Zoom call
David Murphy and Matt O'Donnell haven't seen Tamala Edwards or Karen Rogers in person for more than a month. This is after working with each other in the same studio for 15 years!
Race and the Coronavirus
Host Matt O'Donnell and his panel of race experts take a deep dive into why African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Pet owners note behavioral changes in their cats and dogs during the coronavirus pandemic
While the impact of this pandemic has ranged from absolute boredom to more serious things like job losses and health issues, some of our pets are coping in their own ways.
Matt O'Donnell's 6 most rewatchable Eagles games since 2009
From a deflating playoff defeat to a thriller in the Meadowlands and more, Matt O' Donnell reveals his 6 most rewatchable Birds games.
Staying emotionally healthy during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Matt O'Donnell interviews relationship therapist Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson and bestselling author/corporate trainer Steve McClatchy on how to stay inspired and in good health during this stressful time.
'Coronavirus 101': True Philadelphia Podcast
Getting back to the basics on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deep dive into the 6abc True Crime Episode 'The Disappearance of Imbo and Petrone'
Matt O'Donnell speaks with anchor Sarah Bloomquist and producer Jessica Gonzalez who spent an entire month researching and reporting on an infamous and baffling 15-year-old missing persons case in the city of Philadelphia.