Michelle Billman

News Director

Michelle Billman is the news director at KUNR Public Radio in Reno, Nevada where she oversees a scrappy crew of multimedia storytellers. She’s a transplant from the East Coast, where she earned degrees in creative writing and English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Virginia Tech.

Under Michelle’s direction, and in close partnership with Noticiero Móvil, KUNR has become an early adopter within public media for providing Spanish digital content to its local audience in an effort to start addressing language access gaps. This initiative has been recognized with a national Edward R. Murrow award for innovation and a Public Media Journalists Association award for collaboration.

Working with developing reporters is important to Michelle, which is why she established an internship program at KUNR for students at the Reynolds School of Journalism. Under her editorial guidance, college reporters have earned national and regional awards. She’s also served as a mentor for NPR’s Next Generation Radio program and runs a youth radio program for high school students in Washoe County.

Outside of radio, Michelle is usually busy chasing her toddler, Alex, or doing art projects with her first grader, Nora. Michelle also enjoys working on nonfiction writing projects, which have appeared in literary journals like River Teeth and Ninth Letter

Ways to Connect

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

8:25 a.m. | September 19, 2020

KUNR is committed to sharing information and resources on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in Nevada please visit the following websites for your area.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:30 p.m. | September 15, 2020

Nevada Reports 226 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 And 26 COVID-19-Related Deaths
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 226 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The department reported 26 additional COVID-19-related deaths statewide. There are nearly 1,500 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and there have been more than 948,000 tests performed in the state.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

8:06 p.m. | September 1, 2020

Nevada Reports 405 Additional Cases of COVID-19 And 8 COVID-19-Related Deaths
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported just over 400 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The department reported eight additional COVID-19-related deaths statewide. There are over 1,300 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and there have been more than 859,000 tests performed in the state.

Bureau of Land Management Nevada / Twitter

As of 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, KUNR is no longer actively updating this web post. For the latest updates on the Loyalton Fire, follow #LoyaltonFire, @TMFPD or @Tahoe_NF on Twitter or visit the InciWeb Incident Overview

Update: Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 at 9:14 am

The Loyalton Fire has consumed just more than 47,000 acres and is 75 percent contained. All evacuations related to this fire have been lifted and there are no road closures due to this fire.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:54 p.m. | August 18, 2020

Nevada Reports 25 New COVID-19 Deaths
By KUNR Staff

In Nevada, health officials reported 25 additional deaths Tuesday related to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths above 1,100. More than 670 new positive cases were also noted, bringing the total number of cases above 62,000.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

6:53 p.m. | August 11, 2020

Nevada Reports 548 Additional Cases Of COVID-19 Tuesday
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 548 additional cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The department also reported 18 additional COVID-19-related deaths statewide. There are now 981 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and there have been over 712,000 tests performed in the state.

Smoke billowing near U.S. 395 near Hallelujah Junction.
Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District via Twitter

As of 4:10 p.m. on August 6, 2020, KUNR is no longer actively updating this post. For the latest updates on this fire, follow the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District on Twitter @TMFPD or search Twitter for #NorthFire.

4:08 p.m. | Aug. 6, 2020

The North Fire near Hallelujah Junction is 70 percent contained according to the Bureau of Land Management and has consumed more than 6,800 acres. Crews are continuing to put out any remaining hot spots and patrolling the area, according to InciWeb.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

6:38 p.m. | August 4, 2020

Nevada National Guard Extended
By Noah Glick

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday that hundreds of Nevada National Guardsmen will remain on duty through the rest of the year to help deal with the effects of COVID-19.

An image of the Hog Fire, a wildfire burning northwest of Susanville.
ALERTWildfire Consortium

For more information about the Gold and Hog Fires, follow CAL Fire Lassen-Modoc Unit on Facebook.

As of 6:10 p.m. on July 31, 2020, KUNR is no longer actively updating this web post. 

6:08 p.m. | July 31, 2020

As of 4 p.m. Friday, all evacuations related to the Gold Fire in Lassen County have been lifted, according to CAL FIRE, and all roads in that area are open. Officials are reminding residents to stay vigilant and aware of emergency vehicles and other hazards around the fire area. The blaze was 21,870 acres and 80 percent contained as of 7 a.m. Friday.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

8:06 p.m. | July 28, 2020

Nevada Reports More Than 1,000 Additional Cases Of COVID-19
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,105 additional cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. The department reported 20 additional COVID-19-related deaths statewide. There are now nearly 759 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and there have been nearly 586,000 tests performed in the state.

A woman with brown hair, and glasses, sitting down, smiling at the camera.
Theresa Danna-Douglas / University of Nevada, Reno

KUNR is looking to widen its coverage on affordable housing and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to do so, the station hired Lucia Starbuck through Report for America, which places journalists in newsrooms across the country to elevate underserved voices from their local communities. KUNR’s Michelle Billman talked to Steve Waldman, one of the co-founders of Report for America, and Lucia Starbuck, about the program.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:08 p.m. | July 21, 2020

Three New COVID-19 Deaths In Washoe Co.
By Noah Glick

The Regional Incident Command is reporting three new deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday. That brings the total deaths from the virus countywide to 105.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

6:38 p.m. | July 14, 2020

State Leaders Urge Continued Vigilance Against COVID-19
By Noah Glick

State officials are urging the public to continue its vigilance in the fight against COVID-19, as more than 1,100 new cases are reported Tuesday.

A fire and smoke on the side of a mountain.
Image from ALERTWildfire Greater Tahoe cameras on Twitter @nvfirecams

As of 5:01 p.m. on July 13, 2020, KUNR is no longer actively updating this blog.

5:00 p.m. | July 13, 2020

Investigators have determined the cause of the Numbers Fire, burning south of Gardnerville.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:36 p.m. | July 7, 2020

Nevada Reports Nearly 900 Additional Cases Of COVID-19, Officials Discuss Limitations Of Contact Tracing
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 876 additional cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. There are now nearly 550 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada, and there have been close to 384,000 COVID-19 tests performed. The growing number of cases in the state is causing challenges related to contact tracing.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:51 p.m. | June 30, 2020

Nevada Reports More Than 500 Additional COVID-19 Cases
By Lucia Starbuck

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 562 additional cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. There are now 507 COVID-19-related deaths in Nevada. There have been nearly 323,000 COVID-19 tests performed in the state.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:23 p.m. | June 23, 2020

Nevada Sees Another Record Day Of COVID-19 Cases
By The Associated Press

The Reno Police Department's use of force policy was updated on June 5 to include a warning before using deadly force is required when reasonable, and officers are required to intervene in excessive force situations.
Courtesy of the Reno Police Department

The Reno Police Department, or RPD, has announced some changes to its use of force policy in response to community input. The changes are in light of protests against police brutality, both locally and nationally, following the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was killed while in police custody after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes, even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

7:08 p.m. | June 9, 2020

Nevada Reports Highest Spike Of New COVID-19 Cases
By Lucia Starbuck

An illustration of an ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

8:24 p.m. | June 2, 2020

More Than 176,000 COVID-19 Tests Performed Statewide
By Lucia Starbuck

Pages