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.

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The State of Things
11:34 am
Thu October 23, 2014

The Narrative Of UNC-Chapel Hill's Academic Fraud

Kenneth Wainstein presents his findings about academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill

    

From 1993 to 2011, more than 3,000 students at UNC-Chapel Hill took classes that did not require them to show up.

They were told only to submit a final paper, and they got artificially inflated grades. Nearly half were student-athletes who benefitted from the classes by remaining eligible to play.

Those findings were released Wednesday from former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein, who had been commissioned by the university to investigate academic fraud.

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The State of Things
12:00 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

How North Carolina Fits Into 'The State Of The South'

Durham, NC
Credit James Willamor / Flickr Creative Commons

  

Like residents of other regions, individuals in the South face economic disparities like a widening gender gap, income inequality, and higher rates of unemployment among young adults.

But in the South, it is also more difficult for those young people to move up the economic ladder than in any other region.

And a report released today by Durham research firm MDC ties many of those disparities to limited access to employment programs and higher education.

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The State of Things
12:03 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

The Challenges Of Detecting Racial Bias In Court Proceedings

Credit Daderot / Wikipedia

  

The Racial Justice Act of 2009 allowed defendants in North Carolina to appeal their death sentences if they could show racial bias was a factor in their trials.

It was the only law in the country that retroactively applied to capital cases. And it let inmates use court statistics to prove their arguments, rather than having to prove prosecutors intended to be prejudiced.

But under pressure from dozens of district attorneys who said the law was unnecessarily delaying capital cases, the North Carolina General Assembly repealed the Racial Justice Act in 2013.

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The State of Things
12:23 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Utility Companies Could Keep Fees Despite Corporate Tax Breaks

Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/11441208065/

  

Private utilities charge their customers a small monthly fee to compensate for the corporate income tax they pay.

The North Carolina General Assembly cut that tax in its latest session, and the state Utilities Commission originally ordered a smaller fee to reflect the changes. But the commission recently reversed that, saying companies could go back to charging at the higher rate and keep the extra money.

Their decision led to a rare, strongly-worded dissent from the commissioners who voted against it.

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The State of Things
11:43 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Regarding My Son: Poetry And Mental Illness

Credit Finishing Line Press

    

When Sonia Usatch-Kuhn's son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, she started keeping a diary of sorts.

She wrote poetry about the devastating moments when her son was institutionalized, and when he did not speak for two years. She also wrote poetry about the moments of joy when he began to distinguish reality from his paranoia and hallucinations.

Sonia’s writings are now a book of poetry that follows the story from her son’s diagnosis 35 years ago to his life today.

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The State of Things
4:18 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

North Carolina's Sixth District Congressional Race

Credit Scott Moore, Flickr, Creative Commons

    

With three weeks left before Election Day, candidates for North Carolina's 6th House district are making their final pushes.

Republican Mark Walker and Democrat Laura Fjeld have agreed to two debates in the next two weeks. The winner will fill the seat vacated by Congressman Howard Coble who represented the district for nearly 30 years.

Meanwhile, some faculty and staff at UNC-Greensboro are questioning the judgment of administrators after three employees were fired and arrested on charges of falsifying time sheets for freelance work.

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The State of Things
4:13 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

From 'Ahmed's Diary' To 'Musings Of An Iraqi Patriot'

A sketch from Ahmed Fadaam, featuring Dick Gordon in the upper left and bottom
Credit Ahmed Fadaam

Iraqi artist Ahmed Fadaam spent years reporting about the Iraq War for WUNC's The Story with Dick Gordon.

His segment, "Ahmed's Diary," gave listeners the story of the war from the streets of Baghdad while his artwork reflected the instability of a country under fire.

But death threats from within Iraq forced Fadaam to flee the country. His story is now the subject of a documentary, Musings of an Iraqi Patriot.

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The State of Things
12:01 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Tobe: An African-American Children's Book Ahead Of Its Time

Credit UNC Press

    

First published in 1939 by UNC Press, the picture book Tobe was a rare children's story featuring an African-American protagonist.

The book follows a boy who works hard on his family farm. The story uses the real photos of people who lived in an African-American township just outside of Greensboro called Goshen.

The book gave a historical glimpse into African-American communities in North Carolina, but left open questions about what happened to these families in the decades to come.

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The State of Things
12:07 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Voters To Decide Whether Felony Defendants Can Waive Right To Jury Trial

Credit flickr.com/photos/zen

  

When North Carolina voters go to the polls this year, many will quickly fill-in their decisions for major elections.

On the ballot they’ll find the U.S. Senate race, state legislature races, county commissioners, and the North Carolina Supreme Court race.

But way down at the end of the ballot will be a proposed constitutional amendment. Unlike Amendment One in 2012, most changes to the constitution do not receive national media attention.

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The State of Things
12:01 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

The State Of Things Issues Table: Foreign Policy

Credit NC General Assembly/US Senate

  

Today, we start a series of issues-based conversations about the 2014 midterm elections called The Issues Table. Join the conversation with #SOTIssues on Twitter or email us at sot@wunc.org with "Issues" in the subject line.

Foreign policy is now a top issue in North Carolina’s campaigns. Incumbent Senator Kay Hagan and challenger Thom Tillis have exchanged attack ads about national security.

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