Michelle Billman | KUNR

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 helps run the KUNR Youth Media 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

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

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

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

10:10 p.m. | May 26, 2020

Nevada Can Enter Phase 2 Of Reopening Process Friday

By Michelle Billman

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

8:23 p.m. | May 19, 2020

Washoe Co. Health Officials Say More Cases Indicate Community Spread
By Danna O'Connor

Women and children in red shirts stand outside of a hospital building holding protest signs.
Trevor Bexon of This Is Reno

Some of the nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in downtown Reno demonstrated in front of the facility last week to express their concerns about working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob Conrad is publisher of This Is Reno and he was there covering the protest. He shared what he learned with KUNR’s News Director Michelle Billman.

KUNR Journalism News Awards 2019 and 2020. A collage of photos and illustrations from KUNR stories that have been recognized by the 2019 Associated Press Radio and Television Association for radio two division or 2020 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The KUNR newsroom has earned several awards from multiple contests for work produced by its reporters, editors, digital staff members, and student reporters in 2019. 

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

8:18 p.m. | May 5, 2020
By Danna O'Connor

Washoe County Human Services Agency Contractor Tests Positive For COVID-19

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

For recent updates on Coronavirus in Nevada, visit our updates and resources webpage.

Coronavirus In Nevada Updates: Wednesday, March 18

10:17 p.m. PDT | March 18, 2020
By Michelle Billman

State Total Of COVID-19 Cases Hits 85

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

For recent updates on Coronavirus in Nevada, visit our updates and resources webpage.

Southern Nevada Health District Announces Three New Positive Cases Of COVID-19
A Total Of Five Presumptive Positive Cases Reported In Clark County

Washoe County School Bus
Carla O’Day

Washoe County School District (WCSD) has a critical shortage of school bus drivers. The unemployment rate is low in the Reno-Sparks area, at 3.2 percent, and there is fierce competition for qualified employees. The district is seeking qualified people in the community to apply for school bus driver positions.

Barriers stand up against a body of water.
Bob Conrad / This is Reno

Washoe County commissioners are taking steps to contain Lemmon Valley’s Swan Lake to a specified boundary, although county staff have cautioned that a solution to flooding in that area hasn’t been identified and funding questions remain. To learn more, KUNR’s News Director Michelle Billman spoke to Bob Conrad, the publisher of ThisisReno, to learn more about this issue.

The KUNR news team has earned three 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, or RTDNA.

A close-up image of a marijuana plant.
ThisisReno

Outgoing Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval wants to move a percentage of marijuana tax dollars to fund education-related programs. To learn more, KUNR News Director Michelle Billman spoke with Bob Conrad of ThisisReno about Sandoval's budget recommendations for the state.

Washoe County School District Administrative Building on a sunny day.
Carla O’Day of ThisisReno

A former administrator at Hug High in Reno has been vocal about her battle with the Washoe County School District for her job. Bob Conrad of ThisisReno has been following this story and spoke to KUNR News Director Michelle Billman about recent developments.

Episode 7 - Proposing Solutions

Jun 26, 2018
Four people sit at a table. In front of them are microphones and name cards.
Krysta Scripter

Episode 7 - Proposing Solutions

This week Joey is joined by editor Michelle Billman while Bree is out reporting. Joey and Michelle talk about the affordable housing community conversation that KUNR held on June 20 at Moana Nursery. We hear from Kim Robinson of Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, State senator Julia Ratti, Eric Novak from Praxis Consulting and Eddie Hult from La Causa Development Nevada. Each panelist gives some thoughts on the issue and some bring up some solutions.

The Northern Nevada Development Authority attracts new businesses and supports existing businesses in Lyon, Douglas, and Storey Counties, along with Carson City. The organization has reduced the vacancy rate of industrial spaces across that region from 26 percent back in 2010 to about 3 percent today, though challenges remain. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke with the organization to learn more about what they’re grappling with as they continue expanding economic growth in these smaller communities.

The 34th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering wrapped up in Elko over the weekend. Its theme focused on herding cultures, with a heavy emphasis on Basque people. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke with two Basque performers who were highlighted during the festival.

Cultural competency is a form of training widely used in corporate and public work settings. Julie Hogan is a business professor at the University of Nevada, Reno who has devised many of these training materials, but she says it’s not effective. Now, she's proposing a different approach, a deeper dive through a concept called cultural humility. She’ll be giving a talk for Reno’s TedX series on this topic and she gave a preview to our News Director Michelle Billman.

The University of Nevada TEDx event is a series of talks from local and national thinkers who have innovative ideas to share. At this year's event later this month, Reno marriage and family therapist Steven Ing will be discussing how to select an ideal mate. He says partner selection is a big component for avoiding relationship trouble.

Susan Nissenbaum is a court appointed special advocate with the Washoe County CASA program. Many years ago, she was assigned to work with a teen named Grace, who ended up living in multiple foster and group homes. They attended court together for years and when Grace aged out of the foster care system, they remained close. They came to KUNR to remember those difficult times, which ultimately brought them together. 

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