Michael de Yoanna | KUNC

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.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Police body camera video that shows the shooting of De'Von Bailey tells two stories. To a grand jury, it exonerated the actions of Colorado Springs police officers last summer. To Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat pivotal to the crafting of Colorado's expansive new police accountability law, it shows what the police did wrong.

Courtesy U.S. Air Force

"It could have been me on the ground begging for my life."

Those are the words of Col. Devin Pepper of the 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. He wrote them last week, as protests against the death of George Floyd triggered a movement that has swept the globe.

Rae Solomon/KUNC

As protests against police brutality enter their second week in Colorado and across the nation, the military’s role is under intense scrutiny.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

Could a simple lack of personal protective equipment, including proper masks, gowns and gloves, have increased the COVID-19 death toll at nursing homes across Colorado?

Nursing home workers, patients and families interviewed by KUNC think so.

Courtesy of Michael Nicosia

Michael Nicosia's voice echoes across a quiet street lined with tall trees and neatly cut lawns. He's standing outside a closed window at Makarios Assisted Living at Lehigh in Aurora. He's singing: "When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you."

His audience is on the other side of the window, his silver-haired mother, Rosemary. Her hands are clasped together. Her eyes beam at her son through her glasses. And she's smiling.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

As Gov. Jared Polis and Weld County clash over walking back pandemic stay-at-home orders, the moment for first responders is uncertain. Calls to 911 with people complaining of coronavirus are still coming in.

Weld County has the third-most cases in the state, and Greeley accounts for about 75% of them. For the city's firefighters and medical responders, the governor's month-long order has made it possible for them to focus on the crisis.

Thomas Bjørkan / CC BY-SA 3.0

Of all the COVID-19 deaths in Colorado, 137 so far were residents at nursing homes and other residential care facilities. Another 39 probably died from the virus but never received a test. That's about half the 357 deaths tallied so far across the state, continuing a trend where a large portion of the lives lost to the pandemic involve vulnerable, often elderly, residents at facilities charged with their care.

Erkan Utu / Pexels

Public health officials are expected to roll out detailed information this week about COVID-19 cases and deaths at nursing homes and other facilities that house some of Colorado's most at-risk residents.

Barry Riley / U.S. Navy

The chief of U.S. Northern Command, Terrence O'Shaughnessy, is fighting an enemy that crept under his string of Arctic warning radars. The coronavirus spread quickly, killing thousands of people within weeks as most states across the country have ordered hundreds of millions of Americans to stay at home, many of them losing their jobs.

"It starts with the commander-in-chief and he's declared war on COVID-19 and that's exactly how we're treating it," O'Shaughnessy said.

Courtesy Rob Lydic

Rob and Patty Lydic are among the 80% of "mild" coronavirus cases that leaders and health officials often cite as shorthand to explain the risks during the pandemic. The Boulder couple are in their 40s and both very fit. Rob raced his bicycle 29 times last year, logging 6,500 miles, and Patty rides, too, and also does yoga.

Despite their good health, COVID-19 struck the Lydics hard, with symptoms ranging from dry coughing to fever lingering for weeks.

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