Good Work Gets Noticed: Video Transcript

Wil Haygood (Urban Studies major, Miami, 1976) [journalist at The Washington Post]: Every time I write a story and see a story in the newspaper, I'll read it and I'll say, "I wish I would have done this. This goes on too long, this part of the story goes on too long." There are many times that I'm happy with the end result, but it's rarely a story that I see after it's been published that I wouldn't have done something differently. It's different with the books because books take four and five years, so I have time to reread things, reedit things, to fix things in a book. But you don't get that in a magazine article or newspaper stories. So the books I tend to be happier with.

It takes great patience with people who are not naturally willing to talk. And so I might think I'm going to be at their house for an hour, and I might end up being there for four hours. So it takes great patience. I think people, they invite you in their house and they're willing to talk. They have things that they would like to talk about; they may be reticent or naturally shy. And it's really a different experience to be interviewed by someone who's trying to extract information from you, some of the information you might not want to talk about. Sometimes people ask me, I've been interviewed, and they'll say, "How did you feel about that bad review you got for your last book?" and I'm thinking, "Did we really have to go there?"

To realize that even though there have been changes in the media world, that it's still a great craft and that there are still great outlets to do your work. And good work tends to always find a form. Somebody will publish your story or somebody will get your short film onto a screen. Somebody will help the good work rise to the surface. It will get noticed. I think media, journalism, storytelling is, actually in some ways, more powerful than ever now.

[March 2014]