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Friday, July 28 marks Will Carless‘ final day with voiceofsandiego.org. After a year with Voice, Will is headed to Chichester, England for the duration of summer to spend time with his family.
Will was born in New York, and has lived in Brazil, Australia, and England. Over the next year, he will continue to travel the globe, alongside his wife, Christin.
Will began his career at Voice in June 2005 covering the “Survival in San Diego” beat. In the last six months, his coverage has focused mainly on the local housing market, generating feedback from all over the country. The New York Times dubbed him the “Go-To Journalist on San Diego Real Estate.”
Recently, Will’s work was recognized by the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for his coverage of San Diego real estate. He swept the Real Estate Story category, taking first place for his article The Great Wall of University City, and second place for his four-part series, Buyers Beware. He also won first place in the Science/Technology/Health category for his story, Into the Eye of the Storm, Literally. Judges commented on Will’s “vivid writing, good grabby lead, and thorough reporting.”
In a departing interview, Will humbly highlights career success and outlines his plans for the future.
Where are you moving?
I will be going to the South Coast of England to Chichester, which is near Brighton.
What plans do you have when you return to England?
I’ll spend the summer in England. The main reason is to look after my mom and spend time with my family. After that, my wife and I will spend a few months traveling, go to India for a few months. We will touch base back in San Diego in January for a visit.
When did you arrive in San Diego and what brought you here?
I knew after school I wanted to go to California and I had three choices: it was going to be L.A., San Francisco, or San Diego. San Francisco looked too cold, L.A. looked too hectic, and I thought San Diego looked too small, but British Airways had a special to fly to San Diego and that’s how I ended up here. I arrived with a backpack and a surfboard in February 2003 and I didn’t even know if I was going to stay.
How long have you been with Voice?
(I’ve) been at Voice since June of 2005. I was working at a local paper in La Jolla, the La Jolla Light, and I was looking for a new job. It was either a bigger paper in Florida, but it was conservative, or here.
What is the biggest difference in writing for an online website vs. a traditional newspaper?
It’s very different deadline-wise. You have more freedom to get it right online, and the quality is better.
Have you always covered the housing market?
Well, I was doing the “Survival in San Diego” beat initially, and doing features and breaking news. But no one had written really solid housing news in awhile. I didn’t know a thing about it so I just hammered away at it. We have put out about 30-40 housing stories.
The New York Times has called you the “go to journalist on San Diego Real Estate.” Where did this nickname come from?
The New York Times launched a blog, “Walk-Through.” Daeom Darlin, who writes for The New York Times out of San Francisco, found out about the site. He always linked to Voice for real estate and housing updates and loves what I write. He included me in his blog piece as the “go to journalist on San Diego Real Estate.”
What are some of the highlights of your time here?
Definetely doing the migrant story, when I lived in a migrant camp for a week. Doing that was insane. After that, the story got a lot of attention, I did four TV shows and radio show about it. A film-maker contacted me about it and is coming out with a film on HBO.
It has also been rewarding covering housing. We really stepped into the housing void, we wrote the stories that had to be written, the stuff that no one was saying. Other papers have a restriction on what they report on real estate because a lot of their sponsorship is in real estate, and we don’t have that at Voice. At one point the housing section was getting more hits than the home page because people were including our link in their blogs. People from all over were linking to us, and we were getting e-mails from all over the country.
What will you miss most about Voice?
I couldn’t work with a better group of people. I enjoy work. I know a lot of people say that, but I mean it; it’s fun. I come in and I don’t know what I’m going to be doing by midday. Andy and Scott are amazing to work for. They give you so much freedom and they never need to pressure you to do good work, because you want to do it well. I couldn’t ask for a better staff to work with.
Any plans to return to San Diego?
We’ll be visiting San Diego in January, and will be back permanently in one year.
Kelly Bennett, who joined our staff earlier this month, will take over the “Survival in San Diego” beat.