As a child, Hayley Miller carried her legal pad in one hand and a pen in the other. Crafting fictional stories in her hometown outside of Hartford, Conn. — “your standard smallish town where everyone says, ‘Oh, I need to get out of here someday,’” she describes with a laugh —Miller escaped into the world of characters she dreamt up.
“I was really into writing. Period,” she said, adding that pursuing a career in journalism was a natural progression. “I used to like developing characters a lot. I think I could see those characters in the sources whose stories I would go on to cover.”
She went on to work as an editor for her high school paper, The Phoenix, and upon arriving at Northeastern, decided to major in journalism and minor in international affairs and Arabic.
Today, Miller, ‘12, is a reporter on the breaking news team at the HuffPost in New York City. For the past couple of years, she has reported to work at 7:00 a.m. to watch the morning news, including “more Fox and Friends than I ever intended.” Miller then scrambles to gather information and write stories, a responsibility that lends itself well to comradery in the office—everyone works together to find the best sources and comments, she explained.
“There’s never really a dull moment whatsoever. Especially with the news cycle within the last couple of years with the election,” Miller said. “Just when you think it’ll settle down, it gets crazier and crazier.”
But Miller, who has an affinity for dipping her toes in topics she wouldn’t normally consider and gaining a little bit of knowledge in many different subjects, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I was a politics intern in 2011 at HuffPost’s D.C. bureau after doing a spring study abroad in Beirut—my office was steps away from the White House,” Miller said, describing her life-changing co-op with the news outlet during Occupy Wall Street and its Washingtonian counterpart, Occupy D.C. “I remember calling my mom and saying, ‘Oh my god. I need to be doing this as a career.’”
With her naturally inquisitive and humorous personality—Miller isn’t afraid to laugh at herself or say things like “Melania Trump and I both care about cyberbullying issues”— she fought through an initial feeling of reporters’ “imposter syndrome” as a student.
“A lot of us, women especially, have imposter syndrome and think we don’t have good ideas because no one else has said it before,” Miller said, explaining that she’s no longer hesitant toward speaking up about her thoughts.
“Journalism allows you to be super nosy in a way that would usually be frowned upon,” she added. “Because I have a press badge, I’m allowed to approach people and ask them questions when others wouldn’t be able to.”
Miller once considered field reporting from the Middle East, but became more and more interested in domestic issues, especially as they related to the 2016 election, gun violence, and the environment. Plus, she wanted to remain geographically close to her family.
After graduating in 2012, she took time to travel and spend time with her newborn niece. Then, ready to continue her journalism career, Miller reached out to HuffPost, having maintained her connections there from co-op. She landed a fellowship position with its contributors’ team in 2013, from which she made her way up to senior editor.
Nostalgic for reporting, she joined the breaking news team in November 2016.
Miller has a genuine care for people going through dark issues, and through her reporting and written work, maintains a drive to never come off as exploitive.
“I wrote a piece on students not participating on walkouts, and I think it flips the narratives people think we lean toward,” she said of the Parkland story and the HuffPost. “It’s important to have all those viewpoints out there and not have them be sensationalized. What I find to be most rewarding and challenging is to find these voices and have them be heard. I think it’s really brave for those students to come forward and lift their voices to a larger audience,” she added, stressing that at the very least, a story should accurately represent what one’s sources had to say.
Her other advice?
“Speaking more than one language is really important,” Miller said. “Let yourself be weird and be drawn toward any weird thing you’re into. You can make your way into unique beats. Stay involved—and be involved—with that community because they can be a great resource in the newsroom. Trust your instincts.”