Rebecca Martinez

Morning Producer

Rebecca Martinez produces WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition. She reports breaking news as well as feature stories and interviews about a range of subjects, including immigration enforcement and environmental sustainability. She knows a lot about municipal solid waste.

Rebecca is also the co-creator and founding producer of The Civilist with Steven Petrow. The podcast is a partnership between WUNC and PRI, and it explores how people can talk respectfully about controversial and awkward topics.

Before coming to North Carolina, Rebecca was a reporter and host at Wyoming Public Radio, where she created the "Upstarts" entrepreneur profile series. She won a PRNDI award for soft feature reporting in 2012 and has edited and produced several PRNDI award-winning stories and episodes of "Open Spaces." Rebecca has reported on agriculture and community issues at The News Leader in Staunton, VA. She spent two years cutting tape, booking interviews and running scripts at NPR's Washington, DC headquarters. Her reporting has aired on NPR, the BBC, PRI, Marketplace and National Native News.

She lives in Durham, where she volunteers on the crisis line at Durham Crisis Response Center. She also occasionally leads bike tours of the city’s murals.

Ways to Connect

A silhouette of a young pregnant woman.
Sarah Zucca /

North Carolina's teen pregnancy rate has reached a record low level for the ninth consecutive year, according for a report from the nonprofit adolescent health initiative Shift NC.

Trinn Suwannapha

Today is World AIDS Day and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network is encouraging people who are at risk of HIV or who are HIV positive to enroll in health insurance during open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. 

A drawing of fingerprints.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

In the latest Criminal podcast, we hear about the notorious wrongful conviction of Willie Grimes, who was arrested in Hickory in 1987 on rape and kidnapping charges and spent more than two decades in prison.

Thom Tillis

North Carolina is being upheld as the poster child for the tax plan Congressional Republicans are struggling to pass.

traffic on Interstate 40 in Durham
Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Thanksgiving is just days away, and that means many North Carolinians are getting ready to hit the road.

Secrets and Séances

In this week's Criminal podcast, we hear the story of a Scottish woman named Helen Duncan, who was put in jail during World War II for practicing witchcraft. The British government believed she was a threat to national security.

Unaffiliated incumbent Nancy McFarlane has won a fourth term as mayor of North Carolina's capital city.

LGBTQ advocates are still celebrating Tuesday's election results.

Matt Hirschey of Equality NC says 70 percent of the candidates his organization endorsed were elected to municipal office.

A picture of a diver near a lionfish.
John McCord / UNC Coastal Studies Institute.

Officials with the North Carolina Aquarium are encouraging recreational divers and spear fishermen to hunt invasive lionfish off the coast.

A drawing of plants under a microscope.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Botanists know all about plants, whether they're working in a forest or on a farm, but they can also identify plant matter after it's begun digesting. It turns out, that can be a pretty useful skill in solving murder cases. That's the topic on this week's Criminal podcast.

Image of pills spilling out over money. / Flickr Creative Commons

The open enrollment period starts Wednesday for those who want health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Picture of gavel

Not all 16 and 17-year-olds who commit certain crimes will be tried as adults, according to a new state law. But a report from the the Southern Coalition for Social Justice says schools are still funneling too many students of color into the juvenile and adult court systems.

The Dismal Swamp will reopen on 10/31/17 after being closed for more than a year because of damage from Hurricane Matthew. The trees have been cleared, but there's a layer of green duckweed now.
Courtesy of the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center

The Dismal Swamp Canal will reopen Tuesday under restricted conditions. The Army Corps of Engineers closed it more than a year ago, after damage from Hurricane Matthew.

a condom in package
Rorro Navia / Flickr, Creative Commons,

North Carolina has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country. The state has the dubious honor of ranking in the top 10 on three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists for 2016:

The entraces to a National Weather Service Office.
Sarah / Flickr/ Creative Commons,

Local National Weather Service offices are staffed by meteorologists around the clock. They offer updates about severe weather and other emergencies, as with the tornadoes that touched down in North Carolina this week. But the Weather Service is facing a protracted staffing shortage nationwide.

A sign indicates the janitor closet inside a Wake County public school.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

School custodians are asking the Durham Board of Education to make them full-fledged school employees. Currently, most work for a private contractor called SSC Service Solutions.

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

A common DNA variant can predict heavy smoking and lung cancer. Researchers from RTI International studied nearly 39,000 smokers and found that this gene variant is linked with nicotine dependence.

People playing a game at the state fair
Brianna Ladd / WUNC

The North Carolina State Fair opens today, and for the first time in its 150-year history, will no longer be the last holdout against alcohol sales.

Three hyper children
CK, Carl, Carlo, Carlito / flickr, Creative Commons,

Improving parenting skills can help reduce risks for children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. That's according to research from UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

Criminal: The Big Lick

Oct 6, 2017
This week's Criminal podcast provides a look into the dark side of horse shows.

This week's Criminal podcast provides a look into the dark side of horse shows. The story comes from contributor Mary Helen Montgomery, who she investigated a controversial practice involved in showing Tennessee Walking Horses. 

Wake School Bus
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Wake County Commissioners unanimously supported a plan to create a civil penalty for drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says 3,100 vehicles pass stopped school buses daily, as students climb on and off.

Interstate 40 traffic
Dave DeWitt

The N.C. Department of Transportation began distributing nearly $148 million to more than 500 cities and towns across the state to help with maintenance of local roads.

The Old Well and flowers on the campus of UNC- Chapel Hill.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

A UNC cardiologist has received a $1.7 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. It will fund the expansion of a care model Doctor Anil Gehi developed for patients with Atrial Fibrillation.

Kaleb Fulgham / Flickr/Creative Commons,

North Carolina viticulture has blossomed into a $2 billion industry. It's got tourism to thank for the growth.

Sample North Carolina driver's licenses.
NC Division of Motor Vehicles

A report from the left-leaning Legal Aid Justice Center says almost 1.2 million North Carolinians currently have their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked because they either failed to appear in court or failed to pay court fees. Of those, about 436,000 were for failure to pay, according to the NC Division of Motor Vehicles.

President Trump has expanded a travel ban on mostly Muslim-majority countries for national security reasons. But N.C. State University psychologists say there isn't enough research on the risk factors associated with terrorist activity to set evidence-based policy.

File photo of a lone car waiting to be loaded on a ferry to Ocracoke Island in Hatteras, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. An evacuation is underway on Ocracoke Island on North Carolina's Outer Banks as Hurricane Maria moves north.
Ben Finley / AP

Updated 2:25 p.m., Sept. 26

Storm surge from Hurricane Maria is flooding some parts of the Outer Banks. Forecasters are watching waters rise in the southern Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks as the storm's outer bands sweep across the North Carolina coast. 

an emergency vehicle
Terry Minton / flickr, Creative Commons,

North Carolina is overhauling the technology in its 911 centers to connect better with one another and with cell phones users.

a boy hiding his face
Suzanne Tucker / Courtesy of the Children's Home Society of North Carolina

Social Services agencies in North Carolina investigated more than 121,000 cases of child abuse and neglect across the state over the past year. That's according to data from the School of Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill.

NC12 remains closed Tuesday morning south of the Bonner Bridge. Here's a look at current conditions on Pea Island.

Updated: Sept. 19, 9:07 a.m. | Posted Sept. 18, 1:03 p.m.

The Outer Banks is being spared heavy rain from Hurricane Jose. But National Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Merrell says the coast is still seeing impacts from the storm roiling offshore.


The Raleigh Durham Airport Authority has decided not to sell off three parcels of land near Interstate 40.