On Wednesday, Wil S. Hylton came to my feature writing class to talk about writing profile stories and his journey and experiences as a journalist.
Wil has a very different clothing style and I later came to realize his style reflects his years in New Mexico and New York city. He did not remain stagnant in Baltimore.
He starts to talk about the program at his high school that basically got him a job at the Baltimore Sun, using his hands to express his thoughts, his legs stay crossed as he leans back comfortably at the table.
Hylton admits he “was just this kid who had a lucky break,” as he barely passes high school and doesn’t get into or go to any college but still manages to land jobs at papers such as the Baltimore Sun and magazines like Baltimore Magazine.
His philosphy of journalism is all about doing “whatever it takes to get a story.” He laughs as he says he would smoke a joint for an interview or drink a lot, just to make them more comfortable. And to “put your chips on the table next to theirs.”
He, like many others, believes that “journalists have a role to provide a perspective in the world.”
Some of Hylton’s advice was to do multiple interviews on one person in the story. Mainly the central or primary character. This way you can get the best detail out of a story. Also, the details in their stories that change mean that they haven’t thought about it much and now the details become vivid to them.
Hylton gave me a lot of good advice to think of as I start following around and interviewing my next profile story subject.