Michael de Yoanna

Reporter, Investigative and Veterans’ Issues

As investigative reporter for KUNC, I take tips from our audience and, well, investigate them. I strive to go beyond the obvious, to reveal new facts, to go in-depth and to bring new perspectives and personalities to light.

KUNC's newsroom has always stood out for asking critical questions while striving for fairness and accuracy while promoting conversation. Colorado deserves nothing less. My stories sometimes air on NPR or programs like "Reveal," but my starting point is always right here, with real people from our community.

I got my first job as a print reporter for publications in Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Denver. Later, I freelanced for local and national media organizations, including "60 Minutes." I even directed an indie documentary in the two years I worked as an investigative producer in local television. Finally, I settled in at public radio.

I've been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards for my reporting with KUNC, most recently in 2019. As an editor, I shared in a national Sigma Delta Chi investigative award in 2018 from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2017, I won the Columbia-duPont Award for my co-reporting with NPR’s Investigations Desk. I have received numerous other regional and statewide awards.

When I'm not at work, I play a loud and ferocious electric guitar with my band, enjoy epic weekend road bicycle trek that begin with coffee and end with beer and laughs or watch soccer with my mates, especially if they're supporters of Manchester United or the Colorado Rapids.

Matt Bloom/KUNC

Hundreds of Colorado oil, gas and mining operators have not been reporting the full extent of their business operations to regulators, depriving the state of an unknown amount of tax revenue, according to a new audit released Tuesday.

KUNC composite illustration / Vectors by Keneeko and Sinisa Maric via Pixabay

As officials chalked up dozens of "mystery drone" sightings to things like reflections on jets at Denver's airport, residents in Colorado and bordering states continue to post grainy videos that they insist are evidence of large drones flying in groups. Meanwhile, a legal expert is voicing concerns about privacy.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Safety advocates worried about injuries at Colorado's ski resorts say months of talks with the state and industry about the hazards of riding chairlifts and other issues went nowhere. One group, concerned about children who fell out of lifts, says the state's Ski Lift Safety Working Group lacked focus and a mandate.

High school football
Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

Kelli Jantz lost her son, Jake Snakenberg, during a high school football game. She will never forget his last moments on the field.

"He lined up," Jantz said. "He set. And then he fell forward and was trying to get up and you could tell something wasn't quite right. He turned to come to the sideline and he went down and that was it."

He never got up again.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

When Erin Morris went to a show-and-tell to talk about her service in the Army, she was surprised by what the kids wanted to know. They weren't interested in guns or tanks.

"They wanted to know, 'What did you do every day? Where did you eat? Where did you sleep?'" Morris said.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

An array of radio towers sits behind security fences amid farms and pastures north of Fort Collins. This is home to WWV, the country's oldest radio call letters. The station's high-frequency broadcasts can be heard around the globe if you have the right kind of radio.

Now playing: pulsing sounds, every second, followed by an announcement of the exact time.

The station is run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, which is home to the atomic clock. WWV is capable of more than telling time. It could, if need be, save the world.

Brennan Linsley / The Associated Press

When the flood waters in 2013 subsided, tens of thousands of evacuees along Colorado's Front Range returned to see what happened to their homes. One of them was Amanda Anderson.

"All of it was just mud," Anderson said. "It was so dark in there because of the mud. It was like walking into a horror movie because it used to be so bright."

Courtesy Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant

During World War II, the U.S. military assembled a special group of troops trained to use chemical weapons.

"The big day is still to come," says the narrator of a U.S. War Department training film. "It will be when Hitler, with his back to the wall, frantically uses gas as a last resort."

It was the worst kind of warfare imaginable in the years before the atomic bomb.

Courtesy Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant

The Pueblo Chemical Depot is one of the top 10 U.S. Army domestic installations "at risk" because of climate change. That's according to the Army, which lists "desertification" as its concern for the depot where tens of thousands of chemical weapons are in the process of being destroyed under international treaty.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

A crowd gathers under a red and white striped tent. An emcee introduces Ryan Lanham, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who lives in Fort Collins.

He’s working on a memoir about the horrors he faced as an Army infantryman intertwined with his years of alcohol and drug abuse. His vignettes are “snapshots of existence,” the emcee says, “that form a gestalt mosaic of a life upended, a turning away from the light, his dark night of the soul.”

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