Will Michaels

Daily News Producer

Will Michaels started his professional radio career at WUNC.

He was first an intern while studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. As a part of his internship, he worked for a semester on the daily national show, The Story with Dick Gordon. Will concentrated on radio while at college, studying under veteran NPR reporter Adam Hochberg. He began as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC's radio news magazine, and then became an anchor and managing editor for the program in 2009, when it was named the best college radio news program in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Will came back to WUNC after graduation in 2010 as the producer for the local broadcast of Morning Edition, rising before the sun to help host Eric Hodge gather and present the news. In 2014, he produced WUNC's My Teacher series, part of the North Carolina Teacher Project. He joined the team for The State of Things later that year.

In 2016, Will became WUNC's first Daily News Producer, creating content for WUNC newscasts and periodically filling in as host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Outside of radio, Will holds a seat on the board of the North Carolina Governor's School Alumni Association. He attended Governor's School in 2005 for drama, and still considers himself a theatre geek at heart.

Ways to Connect

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The Wake County District Attorney says the preliminary autopsy report for Akiel Denkins shows that he was shot four times; once in the chest, once in each arm, and once in the right shoulder. 

Denkins, who is black, was shot and killed by Raleigh Police Officer D.C. Twiddy, who is white, on Monday. Police say Twiddy pursued Denkins on foot, they struggled, and Denkins drew a gun before Twiddy fired his own weapon. 

The reports conflict with initial statements from eyewitnesses, which claimed that police shot Denkins several times in the back as he was running away.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the primary carrier of the Zika virus.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Wake County Health Department confirmed another case of the Zika virus this week.

It is the fifth confirmed case in North Carolina since the outbreak in Brazil. But scientists here say differences in mosquito species, climate and lifestyle make it much more difficult for the virus to spread. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Reiskind, entomology professor at North Carolina State University, about why he thinks a Zika outbreak in North Carolina is not likely.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Riverside high school senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was headed to school on a typical morning in January when Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained him and took him into custody.

Acosta is being held in a facility in Georgia, awaiting deportation to his native Honduras. Acosta says he came to the United States to escape the ultimatum of a violent gang: join us or we will kill you.

John Feinstein's new book 'The Legends Club' looks at the friendship between Triangle basketball legends Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Valvano.
Christine Bauch Feinstein

Sports rivalries around the globe are fierce. But perhaps none is as intense as the basketball rivalries between North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The longtime coaches of each of those institutions have legendary status for many in the Tar Heel State.

Image of police tape
Tony Webster / Flickr Creative Commons

Residents of southeast Raleigh are raising questions about the circumstances around a Raleigh officer fatally shooting 24-year-old Akiel Denkins.

Eyewitnesses say the white officer shot Denkins as he fled on foot. Police say the officer was trying to serve a warrant related to drug charges, and found a firearm near Denkins' body. Community members gathered last night for a march and vigil.  

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC reporter Jorge Valencia about the shooting and community response.

Image of voting booths
eyspahn / Flickr Creative Commons

The results from Super Tuesday are in and Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton are leading the pack. Early voting begins tomorrow in North Carolina and the primary is less than two weeks away.

Do Tuesday's results strengthen or weaken the state's impact on the race for the White House? 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Michael Bitzer, political science professor at Catawba College, about what the results from Super Tuesday mean for North Carolina.

Dave DeWitt

Updated February 25 at 7:00 a.m.: Strong winds damaged 10 buildings in Granville County yesterday afternoon and overnight. Trees fell on some homes in Northern Durham County. A roof was blown off a mobile home in Wayne County.

Photo: A camera pinned on a police uniform

Police body cameras are slowly catching on in North Carolina as a way to hold both police and civilians accountable for their actions. But body cameras also raise questions about the privacy of the people they record.

Should that footage be public record? And will body cameras be the answer for communities that have lost trust in their police force?

Image of the agave plant, used in tequila production
Amante Darmanin / Flickr Creative Commons

In the early 2000s, a shortage of the agave plant used to make tequila prompted producers to partner with Mexican farmers in an effort to harvest more crops. But those agreements heavily favored tequila companies and have had lasting impacts on small farms. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has said it might remove some of its health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.
Jed Record / Flickr Creative Commons

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson recently told the News and Observer that the company might have to consider pulling some of its health insurance policies offered under the Affordable Care Act.

Wilson cited financial losses of more than $100 million in the first year of ACA coverage.

Image of black hole jets.Scientists have proven Einstein's theory of relativity by capturing the sound of gravitational waves from black holes collding.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) recently announced that they had detected elusive gravitational waves.

The phenomenon was predicted by Albert Einstein in his infamous theory of relativity, but was never proven until now. The breakthrough findings prove that space and time are indeed interconnected, and opens up a new way of observing the universe and its origins.

The death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has sparked a political battle in Washington.
Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is being remembered as a conservative justice known for his sharp dissents from the bench.

Scalia died Saturday at the age of 79. And his death almost immediately started a political battle in Washington. Senate Republican leaders say they will refuse to vote on a nominee to replace Scalia while President Obama is still in office.

Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, SC
Howard Arnoff / Flickr

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney preached peace and reconciliation as the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

He and eight others were killed in last year's attack on the church which sparked national conversations about race and violence. Today, his friends and family are carrying on his teachings. 

Sarah Razak / Flickr Creative Commons

Water contamination in Flint, Mich., is perhaps the most prominent minority health crisis in America right now. It is affecting a majority African-American city, and raising questions about whether state leaders disproportionately distributed resources.

This type of intersection between public health and social justice is the theme of this year's Minority Health Conference at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

New York Times reporter Adam Liptak discusses his career covering the Supreme Court of the United States.
Supermac1961 / Flickr Creative Commons

It takes a certain kind of reporter to cover the Supreme Court of the United States. Interpreting the Constitution is one thing, and interpreting complicated legal decisions is another. 

Adam Liptak of The New York Times has made a career out of dissecting SCOTUS, including the decades of legal battles over same-sex marriage and the court's place in the judicial systems of other developed countries. 

A drawing of a sick tree.
Julienne Alexander / ThisIsCriminal.com

An iconic oak tree is the subject of this week's Criminal podcast, produced at WUNC. The program tells the stories of people who have done wrong, been wronged or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.

John Giedraitis was the city forester in Austin, Texas in 1989, when a beloved live oak tree there got sick.

"I proposed to my wife underneath the tree, because it's a big, strong, important tree that symbolizes timelessness, endurance, strength and that sort of stuff," Giedraitis says.

As technology advances, certain jobs will be lost to machines and automation in the future. Some fast food restaurants are already using more self-serve kiosks instead of cashiers.
Beau Giles / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina is home to a growing number of startup companies that are trying to stay ahead of today's constant need for innovation.

The upside of that innovation is business opportunity. Cities and states across this region are redirecting investments to try and claim the title of Silicon Valley of the South. 

Robert Lawson / North Carolina Central University

Elvira Green's prolific career as an opera singer catapulted her from the choir room at her church in Greensboro to the chambers of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

She was one of the few African-American women to break into a permanent spot at the Met during the 1970s, and her success as a mezzo-soprano has taken her all over the world.

She performed her signature role as Maria in the opera "Porgy and Bess." 

This month's edition of 'Movies on the Radio' looks at movies about food or movies with food scenes.
Eric McGregor / Flickr Creative Commons

Chefs are fond of saying "we eat with our eyes," but that phrase takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to movies about food.

Films like the classic "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" or Stanley Tucci's "Big Night" have had stomachs rumbling for decades. But more recent movies like the animated "Ratatouille" or Jon Favreau's "Chef" have also been material for aspiring chefs and foodies. 

National Weather Service / NOAA

Updated 6:53 p.m.

Meteorologists say another line of precipitation will add a little more ice and freezing rain to the wintry mix tonight.

The National Weather Service says the heaviest ice accumulation overnight will stretch along a line across central North Carolina from Moore County in the Sandhills to Granville County along the Virginia border. Within that range are Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties. The forecast says there could be another quarter-inch's worth of ice by morning.

Val Kerry / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has repeatedly called for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but this month marks 14 years since the first detainees landed on Cuban shores.

Several detainees have participated in hunger strikes in protest of their imprisonment. A federal judge has ordered the release of videos showing guards force-feeding detainees but the government has until Friday to appeal the ruling.

Host Frank Stasio talks with VICE News reporter Jason Leopold about the latest.

Image of US Capitol
ttarasiuk / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama gave his final State of the Union address last night. He outlined his vision for the coming year and detailed what he sees as the biggest challenges for the nation moving forward.

Host Frank Stasio gets a recap and analysis from Geoff Bennett, Washington reporter for Time Warner Cable News, and Political Junkie Ken Rudin.

An image of the Greensboro city skyline
Turboknowledge / Wiki creative commons

The Triad region was a case study for many of North Carolina's top news stories in 2015. Greensboro is part of the lawsuit against the latest round of redistricting in the state. The merger between Reynolds American Inc. and the Lorillard Tobacco Company rocked the local economy. Many of the effects of the 2015 events will carry into the new year. 

The debate over gun control continues after President Obama's executive action this week designed to curb gun violence.
Peretz Partensky / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama issued an executive action this week designed to curb gun violence. The president said this country's routine mass shootings compelled him to act.

Republican members of Congress swiftly responded with promises to defend Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. But it's not yet clear whether the president's action will change the culture of gun ownership in the United States or where it fits into the national conversation about gun laws. 

A picture of a coal ash pond.
Waterkeeper Alliance

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says Duke Energy will have to excavate most of its coal ash pits in North Carolina.

A new report says 20 pits have to be cleaned up rather than covered, but environmental groups think that number should be higher and point to an earlier draft report that identified 27 pits for excavation.