Yes, at least for a while she pretended to be an intern at Spencer Publications and she wrote an article that Bill found genuinely impressive. Donna was really ruined by the recast when they pretended she was just a "dumb blonde".
Actually, I think recasting Thorne with Jeff Trachta worked really well, even though I liked Norcross as well. Trachta's Thorne had the same softness and sweetness that Norcross did, but added a more humorous and extraverted side to Thorne which worked well in his interactions with Macy and the Spectras (in fact, it was needed to match them). I also think Thorne's scenes with Stephanie became more interesting after the recast.
For me, recasting Trachta with Harmon was far more jarring because his Thorne was completely different from the character played by either Trachta or Norcross. We got a less refined version of Thorne, and the qualities that made Thorne Thorne - the softness, the contrast to Ridge's playboy style, the vulnerability - were downplayed.
Still have no idea why they let JVD go..Ross and Blake could have been the best "talk tos" the show has had in years, and with Dinah in their orbit would have quite a lot of things to respond to. I know most people don't like LK's Blake as opposed to SS..but I still think she was a grown up version of Blake who was raised basically by Ed and Bert in her formative years so can see the warmth coming out.