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Michelle Billman joins The Marshall Project as Partnership and Engagement Associate

Billman will lead “Investigate This,” a new initiative to help more local newsrooms do criminal justice reporting.

The Marshall Project is pleased to announce the hiring of Michelle Billman as partnership and engagement associate.

Billman will take the lead in setting up “Investigate This!,” a new initiative that creates reporting toolkits based on The Marshall Project’s investigations to help local newsrooms do similar accountability work in their own communities.

Michelle Billman

Michelle Billman

“Michelle’s extensive experience working in regional radio, combined with her knowledge of setting up different forms of partnerships, make her the ideal person to oversee this ambitious new initiative at The Marshall Project,” said Ruth Baldwin, Editorial Director. “We are excited to explore the different ways that these reporting toolkits can help inform and inspire more criminal justice journalism across digital, print and broadcast newsrooms.”

“As news deserts continue to expand, reporting collaborations are more important than ever,” Billman said. “With this new initiative, we aim to empower local newsrooms as they launch investigations in their own communities, as well as exploring new strategies for reaching marginalized communities.”

Billman is a former news director for KUNR Public Radio in Reno, Nevada, where she built several partnerships with local media outlets to maximize community impact despite having limited resources. Highlights of her time there include co-founding an award-winning bilingual media initiative with Noticiero Móvil, a student-run outlet at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno; a collaboration with The Nevada Independent and APM Reports to do investigative coverage of a local GOP donor who repeatedly used antisemitic propaganda; and a partnership with the Washoe County School District to train high school students in multimedia reporting. In her recent role at the Freedom Forum, Billman helped to rebuild the Chips Quinn Scholars program as a mentorship program for early career journalists of color.

“We’re delighted that Michelle is bringing her wide range of skills to help us launch and support Investigate This!” said Susan Chira, editor-in-chief. “This initiative is core to our mission to help local journalists uncover abuse and explain how the criminal legal system works in their communities.”

Billman is based in Sparks, Nevada.