Will Michaels

Producer, "The State of Things"

Will Michaels is a fan of news, sound and story. He started as an intern at WUNC when he was a student at the University of North Carolina. 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 in 2010 as the producer for Morning Edition for a couple of years, rising before the sun to help morning 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 is now a producer for The State of Things.


The State of Things
12:11 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Banned Book Week: Examining Censorship And Parental Oversight

Sunday's Banned Book trading card: Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass"
Emily Lynne Kohler Chapel Hill Public Library

Banned Book Week is a time to talk about censorship and pieces of literature that have been prohibited by schools throughout history. The American Library Association says hundreds of books face challenges every year. 

Last year, the Randolph County School board voted to take Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man off of school bookshelves. But the board called a special meeting the next week and reversed the decision.

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The State of Things
12:34 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Assessing The State Ethics Commission

The NC Ethics Commission has received more than 500 complaints in the last seven years. Only two have been referred for prosecution.
Credit Steph Guinan / Carolina Public Press

The State Ethics Commission is a small group of officials that has the large task of looking out for public corruption. 

Commissioners investigate everything from public officials’ investments to possible conflicts of interest in state government. But a 2012 report gave North Carolina a “C” when it comes to ethics enforcement. 

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The State of Things
12:33 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Discovering More Than You Know

Credit Dalkey Archive Press

When Melissa Malouf sat down to write about Alice Clark’s journey across the country, she tried to ride along with her. Her protagonist’s trip is as unpredictable as the winding roads she travels. 

The socially reserved Alice is haunted by a past in which three college friends died young. She is looking for someone who might know why and along the way she finds out she can be someone other than “just Alice.”

Her discovery may give clues to why she survived when her friends perished.

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The State of Things
11:29 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Reinvesting In NC Prisons

Credit Kate Ter Harr / Flickr/Creative Commons


In 2011, state lawmakers noticed a discrepancy in North Carolina’s correctional facilities: crime was going down, but the prison population was booming. The culprit? The state’s probation laws.

More than half of prison admissions were because of probation violations. And many of those were minor offenses. In a rare bipartisan move, the General Assembly rewrote the rules. 

Since then, fewer people are in prison, fewer people are going back to prison, and costs are down.

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8:19 am
Sat September 13, 2014

Durham Non-Profit Tackling Ebola In Sierra Leone

A colorized picture of Ebola particles.
Credit Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine / Wikipedia

A Durham-based non-profit is starting a concentrated effort to slow the spread of Ebola in west Africa.  The group Africa Yes! says it's raising money and awareness for villages in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. 

The virus has killed more than 500 people in that country, which is second only to Liberia's death toll.  Africa Yes! co-founder Steve Cameron says the group is sending money for supplies to 19 small villages that have not yet been infected.

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The State of Things
11:50 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Truman's Israel-Palestine Dilemma

President Harry Truman, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Israel Ambassador to the U.S. Abba Eban in 1951
Credit Israeli Government Press Office


After World War II, President Harry Truman was being approached on all sides about building a Jewish state in Palestine. 

The pro-Israel lobby was pushing for its own sovereign nation, but Truman was leaning toward a two-state solution while his State Department said the British should keep control of Palestine. 

Facing political pressure, Truman eventually called for the U.S. to recognize Israel, but his correspondence shows that he knew it would not be a peaceful solution. 

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The State of Things
11:49 am
Tue September 9, 2014

'Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover In The Civil War'

Credit HarperCollins

At the beginning of the Civil War, members of Abraham Lincoln’s administration were scrambling to build a strategy against the newly formed Confederate Army. 

But they soon became aware of an unforeseen threat to their military operations: female spies. 

Hundreds of women moved goods and information across enemy lines in what would be a gender turning point in a bitterly divided country. 

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The State of Things
11:59 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Diane Rehm In 'Surviving Grace'

Diane Rehm
Credit Glogau Photography

Alzheimer’s disease is still a poorly understood illness, not only in the way it develops, but also how it affects caregivers. 

It is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but advocates say Alzheimer’s research does not get the time or money it needs.

So, the play “Surviving Grace,” is trying to fill that gap. It’s a bittersweet comedy that follows a TV producer whose mother’s memory is slowly fading, and it has been touring around the country, raising funds and awareness. 

A cast of local celebrities will be reading from the play tonight at 7 p.m. in the North Carolina Museum of History. The actors include Gov. Pat McCrory, TV star Loni Anderson, and public radio’s own Diane Rehm.

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The State of Things
12:17 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Breaking Down The NC Senatorial Debate

Credit NC General Assembly/US Senate

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan squared off with her Republican challenger, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis in their first senatorial debate last night.

The race is essentially neck and neck with two months left before midterm elections. Tillis attempted to tie Hagan to an unpopular president, while Hagan tried to associate Tillis with an unpopular legislature. 

And with nearly $15 million in spending from outside groups, the race is already one of the most expensive in the country.

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Business & Economy
9:55 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas Partner For 'Atlantic Coast Pipeline'

Pipeline segments
Credit Harald Hoyer / Creative Commons

Two North Carolina power companies have announced plans to build a pipeline, connecting to natural gas supplies in the Northeast. 

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas say the pipeline will stretch 550 miles from eastern North Carolina to West Virginia.  That state has a distribution center that gathers natural gas from its own drilling operations, as well as those in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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