TODAY contributor Kerry Wills covered everything from the Newtown tragedy to a love story sparked by Occupy Wall Street. Despite her diverse career, Wills considers herself to be a spot news journalist, an expert in her field.
“The hardest skill to develop is spot news,” Wills said. “It is a skill that’s getting lost.”
Wills’ career began at the New Haven Register, after a buyout shut down the small Milford newspaper that employed her. As a beat reporter, Wills was quickly molded into a skilled reporter leading her to the Stamford Advocate.
As an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, Wills wanted to write the “next great American novel” and considered a field in arts and entertainment writing, but her first job at a newspaper introduced her to the life of hard news.
While most reporters move on from hard news to become editors and staff reporters, Wills admits it can be easy to get stuck in hard news if you are adept at it. She kept at hard news as it took her to New York as a reporter for the New York Daily News.
When Wills began her career as a reporter in the mid-1990s, the news cycle was slower and reporters had more time to carefully craft their stories. As a longtime reporter, she has had the opportunity to watch the field of journalism evolve.
“Print newspapers will soon be a thing of the past.” Wills said.
As the Digital Age takes over, Wills knows her experiences as a hard news newspaper reporter have served her well. She is able to transition due to her diverse background within the field of journalism and understands the necessity to write short, attention-grabbing stories for her readers.
Wills has never regretted having the career that turned her into a hard news virtuoso. Wills has a lifetime of memories, including interactions with Bono, Gloria Steinem, and Regina Spektor, and has covered some of the most important events in the United States. While she has yet to become a mom, Wills takes comfort in knowing that when she finally does, the journalism community is rallied behind her.