International Correspondent for CNN
Will Ripley is an award-winning correspondent for CNN, based at the network’s Tokyo bureau.
A journalist with more than 15 years experience, Ripley has traveled to North Korea more than a dozen times since 2014 — more than any American correspondent. Ripley has reported exclusively from Pyongyang after missile launches and nuclear tests. He was the only American journalist in North Korea when U.S. prisoner Otto Warmbier was released just days before his death. Ripley was the first foreign journalist to visit North Korea‘s satellite control center and was among a handful of reporters granted unprecedented access to leader Kim Jong Un’s first Workers Party Congress. Ripley’s exclusive CNN documentary “Secret State: Inside North Korea” was the top rated cable news program (among adults aged 25-54) when it premiered in the United States.
Ripley has reported extensively across Japan — including being among the first foreign journalists to interview Tokyo’s first female governor and first female leader of the Democratic Party. He has covered major breaking stories including the devastating floods in Joso, the execution of two Japanese ISIS hostages, and the deadly eruption of Mt. Ontake. He has also filed in-depth reports on the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, Japanese innovation, fashion, and technology.
In China, Ripley was one of the first journalists to report live from the massive chemical explosions in Tianjin. He told the emotional story of a young Beijing orphan named Jia Jia whose adoptive parents in the United States raised more than $50,000 to cover his adoption expenses — later visiting the boy at his new home in Missouri.
Prior to CNN, Ripley spent three years as an investigative journalist and anchor for KUSA-TV in Denver, Colorado. He covered major stories including the Aurora theater shooting, catastrophic wildfires and floods, and the historic legalization of recreational marijuana.
Prior to his appointment at KUSA, Ripley spent seven years on the U.S-Mexico border as an anchor and investigative reporter for KRGV-TV in South Texas. He reported on drug cartels, border violence and illegal immigration. Ripley also traveled to South America where he reported on a surge in Mara Salvatrucha gang activity. Before moving to Texas, Ripley worked for KRCG-TV and KOMU-TV in Missouri.
Throughout his career, Ripley has won numerous reporting accolades including four Regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Heartland Regional Emmy award. He was honored by the Texas Association of Broadcasters with the Steve Pieringer award for outstanding valor in news coverage, which is given to journalists who exhibit bravery by going above and beyond the call of duty.
Ripley studied journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia and is an accomplished cameraman and editor.
Follow Will Ripley on Twitter: @willripleycnn