Journalist, anchor of the Emmy winning newscast, KBJR at 6, Member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science Silver Circle Honors Society and Broadcasting Hall of Fame Inductee Michelle Lee began her career as a reporter and announcer at KXGR Radio in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in 1976. Michelle was then hired by KSTP AM as a reporter and newscaster, counting Charlie Bush and John McDougal as her early mentors.
Michelle made the transition to television in 1983 as a general assignment reporter and weekend news anchor at KDLH 3 in Duluth, Minnesota, She was quickly promoted to the weeknight anchor chair. In 1990 Lee joined the news team at KBJR 6 in Duluth. Today she anchors the 5, 6 and ten pm newscasts on KBJR 6 and produces the late evening news.
In addition to these duties Lee continues to report on variety of issues in her community. Lee hosts the monthly half hour community service program, “Healthy living,” which focuses on medical issues important to our viewers. She was instrumental in developing a two year public service and news campaign, “Heart Healthy” to promote cardiovascular health in the Northland. For this effort she was awarded the Excellence in Medical Journalism award by the Minnesota Medical Association. The American Heart Association followed suit by present Lee with an Upper Midwest award for Excellence in Medical Reporting.
News assignments over the years brought her to such far away places as Peru, Mexico and Russia. Her award winning “Our Sister’s Children” series was the result of Lee’s travels to Russia in 1999 and 2000 to document the plight of orphans and the Northland’s efforts to reach out to the people of Duluth’s Russian Sister City, Petrozavodsk. Lee organized a penny drive, that raised 25 thousand dollars to buy supplies for four Russian orphanages.
During the height of the recession Michelle spearheaded an effort to begin a weekly segment, Money Minute to focus on the financial issues that Northlanders struggled to overcome. This segment continues to air during the KBJR 6 5 pm newscast.
She was also instrumental in fundraising for the construction of a state of the art animal shelter in Duluth, which is now on track to become a no kill shelter.
Michelle married Gary Kovanen in 1981. They have one son, Frederick who is 24 years old. They happily make their home in Moose Lake, Minnesota.