Michael May is the senior producer of the NPR Story Lab.
In this role, he works with newsroom staff to pitch and produce innovative projects, including podcasts, videos, web stories, and new series for broadcast. He helped incubate such projects as the podcast Rough Translation and the All Things Considered series "Been There." He frequently asks newsroom staff for stories around a theme — for instance, he asked the newsroom for personal stories, which led to this story about a young German boy who fled Nazi Germany with a toy monkey, among others.
May got hooked on producing radio in 1998 when he went to Moscow in search of Oleg Lundstrem, the lone jazz musician who continued to perform during the Stalin years. The resulting story aired on All Things Considered. Since then, May has been a daily news reporter at KUT, an editor at Weekend America and Latitude News, a managing editor for the Texas Observer, a contributing producer for WBUR's iLab, and, most recently, a radio instructor at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
May has won two Overseas Press Club Awards, a Scripps-Howard Award, a Third Coast Audio Festival Gold Award, three National Headliners Awards (including one Grand Prize award), and two Edward R. Murrow Awards.
May graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He plays guitar, was a founding member of Austin's Minor Mishap Marching Band, and enjoys biking, kayaking, and skiing.
With strict social distancing measures, many communities look for safe ways to come together and be entertained. A Washington, D.C., neighborhood threw its first Lawrence Street COVID-19 talent show.
Carl Luepker suffers from a nerve disorder which causes involuntary muscle spasms. He lived with the symptoms for 30 years until he discovered he'd passed the genetic disorder on to his son.
Bit by bit, dystonia was stealing Carl Luepker's ability to use his hands and talk. But his biggest fear was that his children would inherit the disorder. Then he saw his son Liam's foot twitch.
In the mid-1960s, a biologist discovered the beauty of humpback whale songs. But his recordings weren't just academic — they were woven into popular music, and they kicked off an entire movement.
Much of the evidence used against Ed Graf, in prison since 1986 for setting a fire that killed his stepsons, is now considered junk science. His is one of many old arson cases Texas is re-examining.
Dallas is home to more than 40 people who've been released from prison for wrongful convictions. Some of those men have formed not just a support group, but a detective agency devoted to getting other innocent people out of prison.
In November, Maine voters will decide on a ballot initiative that would legalize same-sex marriage. Canvassers are trying to drum up support for the initiative, though opponents say they are sure they have enough support to vote it down.