About Karen Michel

In the midst of producing radio programs, with occasional jogs into print and the internet, I’ve also done many years of teaching, giving workshops for organizations and institutions in the US and internationally. I’ve taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, SUNY-New Paltz, and Marist College and spent a glorious year as the Lehman-Brady Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies. Heaven, CDS is. Heaven.
(And it was at CDS that I did the first live performance of “Live?Die?Kill?”)

Karen Michel

Photo: Simone

These days, I also do voice coaching and script doctoring, story advising, idea generating, whatever is wanted in this proliferating time of podcasting and both broad and narrow casting.

Along these many ways and years I've won most of the requisite awards and fellowships. I studied shamisen with a master in Tokyo courtesy of fellowships from the NEA Japan/US Friendship Commission and the Japan Foundation and recorded celebrations over much of India via the Indo-US Subcommission of the Fulbright Program.

I'm still generating cultural stories for NPR newsmagazines, branching out into issues of aging, and several years ago began the project that is the focus of this website: "Live?Die?Kill?: 3 Questions in Various Geographies." I've done versions (you'll see links in ITERATIONS on the menu bar, above) around my home in slightly upstate NY, in North Carolina, in Poughkeepsie, NY, in Boston, in North Central Florida, in the Four Corners of the Southwestern US and in Los Angeles. Some of these have been radio only, others performance only, a couple have been both.

Karen Michel

Photo: Simone

“Live?Die?Kill?: Los Angeles” was a commission for KCRW’s UnFictional series and deals largely with my father’s death.

The 3 questions are an obsession, as is developing what I'm calling performance documentary, where there's more spontaneity, more and different story, and the reporter (me) as a key participant in the telling, in contact with an audience, no longer invisible behind the microphone.