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

Rev. William Barber

The North Carolina NAACP says Harnett County Sheriff's Office targets poor, rural residents. Now, the organization is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice for a thorough investigation.

The DOJ is already looking into the killing of a man by a deputy intending to search a home without a warrant, and the possible mishandling of another murder investigation.

A red wolf
Joan Lopez via Flickr/Creative Commons

An endangered red wolf pup has been born at the North Carolina Zoo.

The sole pup is the sixth litter of red wolves born at the zoo, but the first since 2010.

Songs In The Key Of Animals album cover
Merge Records

Charlotte native Benji Hughes has a fun, funky new album from Merge Records called Songs in the Key of Animals.

An image of artwork for the Criminal Podcast
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

This week's episode of Criminal examines the legal battles of a man who made it his mission to give the middle finger to every law enforcement officer he saw. Robert Ekas's story raises questions of  how "flipping the bird" fits into free speech. Criminal is a podcast recorded at WUNC and hosted by Phoebe Judge.

A n illustration of Rogers' Cessna over the Sierra Madre mountains.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

In this week's episode of Criminal, a murder mystery is solved by some surprising sleuths: a married pair of accountants.  Host Phoebe Judge spoke with Texas-based CPAs Hugh and Martha Gardinier about how an audit unraveled a complicated criminal case. Criminal is a podcast recorded at WUNC.

Author John Claude Bemis.
Jen Bauldree

Author John Claude Bemis may live in Hillsborough, but he spends much of his time in an imaginary world where myths and legends come alive. 

Bemis created the Clockwork Dark Trilogy, which weaves American folklore with the fantasy genre.  In his new book, "The Wooden Prince" Bemis has completely overhauled the classic story of Pinocchio, and introduces us to a magical place called Abaton.  

Author John Claude Bemis.
Jen Bauldree

Author John Claude Bemis may live in Hillsborough, but he spends much of his time in an imaginary world where myths and legends come alive. 

Bemis created the Clockwork Dark Trilogy, which weaves American folklore with the fantasy genre.  In his new book, "The Wooden Prince" Bemis has completely overhauled the classic story of Pinocchio, and introduces us to a magical place called Abaton.  

A picture of a wallet with cash in it.
401(k) 2013 / Flickr

North Carolinians are having more trouble attaining the American Dream, according to a new report from Durham-based research center MDC and the John M. Belk Endowment.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says it's working to reduce the error rate in Medicaid payments to providers and hospitals.

A new report from State Auditor Beth Wood says North Carolina improperly spent $835 million last year.

North Carolina's Joel Berry II, right and head coach Roy Williams laugh during a news conference
Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

Carolina is headed to the NCAA basketball tournament final. The Tar Heels beat Syracuse Saturday. Tonight, this number one seed will take on second-seeded Villanova.

Carolina head coach Roy Williams praised his players and said he was ecstatic.

"These guys up here were sensational, and I couldn't be having a more fantastic ride than I'm having right now," said Williams.

Tar Heels are one win from the program's sixth NCAA title.

Hope Mills Dam after the replacement failed in 2010.
gerrydincher / Wikipedia

Hope Mills began work on a new dam this week. It's been 13 years since the original earthen dam washed out, taking Hope Mills Lake with it.

Mayor Jackie Warner called Thursday's groundbreaking "very exciting."

"It's been a determined and sort of a impatient wait just to get to where we are today because everybody wanted water sooner."

Under past leadership, the town hired inexperienced contractors to build a replacement dam in 2008, and it failed just two years later. Hope Mills won $9.4 million in a settlement.

Anthony Foxx
Bz3rk, Creative Commons

U.S. Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx is pushing for a federal highway policy that meets the country's transportation needs while considering the impacts on communities.

A drawing of a man with a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Bourbon is a hot commodity these days, but one brand is considered among the finest in the world.  It's called Pappy Van Winkle.  In this week's episode of Criminal, Phoebe Judge examines the rise of the brand, and how a theft in 2013 made it even more popular.

Demonstrators gathered on Franklin Street to protest House Bill 2.
Jessa O'Connor

Amid national criticism over the law that restricts anti-discrimination protection, McCrory says he's willing to "make this bill better."

Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons/Flickr

Young people are voting in record numbers, and they're getting encouragement from school systems and voter advocacy organizations.

More than 3,600 Wake County high school students have registered to vote this school year. The school district's voter registration coordinator Abby Stotsenberg says that's three times as many students as registered last year.

Jill Brown /

A Danish pharmaceutical company broke ground on its second facility in Johnston County Monday. Novo Nordisk says the $1.8 billion plant will be built next to an existing company facility and share its infrastructure.

Site Director Gary Lohr says the new plant will manufacture the company's products, instead of just packaging them.

"We've been manufacturing diabetes medicines out of Kalundborg and out of our site Denmark facilities. and this is the first time we've actually moved it outside of Denmark."

Inga / Wikipedia

Wake County reported more than 200 syphilis cases last year. Wake County's Public Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford says that's a big up-tick compared to fewer than 40 cases in 2003. A majority of new cases involve African-American men who are HIV positive.

A drawing of a judge's robe.
Julienne Alexander / Criminal

Note: this article contains graphic language.

In 1985, three men in South Carolina viciously raped and attacked a woman at a motel. In this week's episode of Criminal, Phoebe Judge tells us about a judge who proposed a punishment he thought would fit the crime better than jail time. Criminal is a podcast recorded at WUNC and hosted by Phoebe Judge

Grey catbird on a beautyberry shrub.
Will Stuart /

Audubon North Carolina is encouraging nurseries to raise more native plants. The conservation organization is also asking more residents to plant them in their yards and gardens.

MLB's before and after images for the Fort Bragg Game
Major League Baseball / Fort Bragg

Major League Baseball broke ground Wednesday on a ballpark at Fort Bragg. The ballpark will host a televised, official game between the Atlanta Braves and the Florida Marlins on July 3.

Eric Hill heads the Community Recreation Division on Fort Bragg. He says the MLB suggested the game as a way to thank military service members, and says the game is stirring up excitement on base.

An image of the producers of WUNC's Localore: Finding America
David Brower / WUNC


WUNC is one of 15 stations across the country chosen to be a part of an innovative public media project called Localore: Finding America.  The project is being put together by the Association of Independents in Radio and is funded in large part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  

As a part of the project, WUNC is partnering with John Biewen, a producer with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and will explore the things that bring us together and divide us as a community, like race, class and faith.

North Carolina's Justin Jackson dunks.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome / ASSOCIATED PRESS

In men's college basketball, eighth ranked North Carolina clinched the regular season ACC title with a road win over rival Duke, 76-to-72.  The Tar Heels led throughout the game, although the Blue Devils kept it close most of the way. 

An image of musician Ryan Gustafson
Josh Coyle

For Asheville musician Ryan Gustafson, The Dead Tongues is a "musical and writing practice." That can mean bringing a group of kindred souls with him to perform on stage, or channeling his folk-rock songs as a solo artist with a handful of stringed instruments. In his new album, Montana, Gustafson polishes The Dead Tongue's mosaic of folk influences.

A picture of a voting sign.
Keith Ivey /

Early primary voting begins tomorrow morning and runs through March 12.

North Carolina State Board of Elections Spokeswoman Jackie Hyland says early ballots offer the same candidates as the March 15 primary ballot. But early voters may register the same day as they vote.

Hyland says the a state law requiring valid photo identification is now in effect.  Voters without ID may sign an affidavit explaining why they have no ID and receive a provisional ballot.