Michael May

Michael May

Michael May teaches radio documentary at the Salt Institute in Portland, ME and is a radio and print freelancer. Before that, he was the managing editor of the Texas Observer. For more than a decade, he reported from Austin, where he investigated an idiosyncratic FBI informant named Brandon Darby, heard Willie Nelson sing “Amazing Grace” a capella and discovered that a police“bait car” can snare good Samaritans. His stories ended up on This American LifeStudio 360Marketplace, The Austin Chronicle and others. He has also worked as an editor for the national radio show Weekend America and a news reporter at the Austin NPR station KUT-FM. For his radio work, May has won a Third Coast Audio Festival Gold Award and a National Headliners Grand Award.

Recent Stories

Music

How pop music helped save the whales

If you hear whale songs today, you might be getting a massage or a facial. Some recordings of humpback whales feature slow melodies — soothing enough for spa soundtracks. But not too long ago, in the early 1970s, the songs of whale songs ignited the passions of music listeners and animal activists, leading to a gold record for singer Judy Collins and a worldwide movement to save the whales.

Culture

Why some Kenyan villagers take AK-47s to fetch water

On the border with South Sudan, is a Turkana village called Loblono, in Northern Kenya. These Turkana people have survived for centuries in one of the harshest landscapes on earth, the dry-as-a-bone desert that also stretches across South Sudan and Somalia. They live a nomadic lifestyle based on herding cattle, chasing the rain and the grasslands that sprout from the desert when it’s wet. The Turkana have always been in conflict with neighboring tribes, like the Poquot and the Taposas. But, in recent years, dwindling water supplies have exacerbated the conflict on this smallest of scales.