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

University of Nevada School of Medicine

As the ebola virus continues to spread in West Africa, researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno are opening a center to forecast infectious disease activity across the state. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that Nevada is the first state to do this.

Reno Aces

An unusually wild brawl at the Reno Aces ballpark led to several suspensions last week. As those players begin to suit back up, the team is arranging meetings with some of its upset fans to clear the air. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

After sponsoring a month’s worth of special events in Reno, Artown wrapped up Friday. The annual festival includes traditional arts programming like musical concerts and theatrical performances, but Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss found some unexpected attractions as well, like this Buddhist chanting session.

 

A bill that would transfer some federal lands to city ownership in Yerington and Fernley unanimously passed the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday.

The Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act combines seven bills introduced by Representatives Mark Amodei and Steven Horsford.

After a month-long celebration of the arts in Reno, Artown is wrapping up this week. The festival includes a variety of events showcasing local treasures, including the massive pipe organ housed in downtown Reno at Trinity Episcopal Church. At a lunchtime concert there, Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss found the pews packed with a hundred eager listeners.

Organist Angela Kraft Cross has been playing for most of her life—she began at age ten, transitioning from the piano.

Reno has recently added 25 solar-powered trash compactors to the downtown corridor. After this trial run, many more could be popping up around town.

“Rather high-tech,” is how Sarah Polito, a spokesperson for Waste Management of Nevada, describes the compactors.

“Think mission impossible style, if you will,” Polito says. “There are laser beams within the compactor.”

State officials have confirmed the first positive sample of the West Nile Virus in northern Nevada this year. KUNR's Michelle Bliss spoke to State Veterinarian Anette Rink about this public health issue. Read the story here.

KUNR's Michelle Bliss stopped by a warehouse in Reno on Friday--but this was no regular warehouse. Instead, the space has been used all this week to help kids with disabilities like Down syndrome and autism learn how to ride a bicycle on their own. On location, she spoke to Diana Rovetti, the president of the local Down Sydrome Network, along with Paul Rinaldi, whose son Peter learned how to ride.

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