Search
  • Janae McKenzie

Hank Taylor's Life Story: The Backwards profile

I’d never written a life story before, and it presented a unique challenge. When you write a profile, you typically speak to friends, family and co-workers as a way to fill in the blanks with supplemental information. But it wasn’t nearly as important as the words of the subject themselves. Here, I had to put together the pieces of someone’s life with only seconded information, memories and perception.


It felt a little odd, not being able to “fact check” a memory with the person in question. There was an added layer of discomfort, as I was reaching out to people to call out memories of someone who was no longer in their life. Particularly with close family, I found this difficult, As I spoke to Hank Taylor’s son, I felt that I accidentally offended him a couple of times, and there was an extra level of guilt. Often journalists are to-the-point — deadlines demand that we be. But that can come off as cold, and I fear that I did from time to time during the interview process.


that said, this was easily one of the most emotional stories I’d ever written. Hearing the fondness for Hank in the voice of his brother and his friends, even the man in charge of his cremation, was beautiful I found myself moved to tears multiple times. And I can only hope I did him justice with the final product.


The link can be found here.


1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Part of the policy for the Missourian is that after we complete an interview for a story, we follow up with the source and do accuracy checks. We send any of their quotes we used, as well as supplemen

In one of our recent lectures, we discussed what could be considered an ethical dilemma for our editorial board. 15 faculty members from the Missouri School of Journalism recently signed a letter cond

General Assignment day shifts at the Missourian can be pretty fast-paced. Often it involves waiting until something comes along for you to cover - a brief, crime or some breaking news. There can be mo