So many emails now have piled up on the subject that I had to open a new file.
For whatever reason, folks who read this column have become fascinated by a vexing question…
Who is Haylie Thompson?
I mean, I get it.
Haylie turns up here relatively often, tossing out opinions on various subjects, not to mention asking or answering various questions.
So who is this woman?
Well, let me go back about a year to her first appearance, and the whole thing might be easier to understand.
Haylie wrote me an email then, explaining why she’d stopped reading The Press.
Basically, she said that although she loved acquiring information, we’d made it hard to separate news stories from opinion pieces.
So she’d given up on us.
Haylie’s critique struck right at the heart of problems in our business, and I wrote a column about it — suggesting that if we couldn’t hold Haylie’s attention, we were in big trouble.
Her name even made it into the headline.
Somehow, our exchange of messages continued, and we struck up a friendship.
Haylie is a fantastic contact for any writer, because she’s smart, funny and both willing and able to address topics that are either serious or ridiculous.
Over time, she became a regular source on all kinds of subjects — from tattoos (she has several) to free will, to how cats know you’re ill, to science podcasts, charter schools and all sorts of things.
Readers definitely have noticed.
One gentleman even wrote to ask if Haylie was my girlfriend.
She’s married with two children — both so gorgeous they should be on TV commercials.
Furthermore, I’ve never actually met her in person.
Our correspondence is carried out via email and text, and I think we’ve spoken twice on the phone.
Yet she’s become my Millennial Muse, a voice from the under-40 demographic who offers a terrific insight from all kinds of angles.
But back to the heart of the question...
Who exactly is Haylie Thompson?
WELL, TO paraphrase a line from “The Pilgrim,” a Kris Kristofferson hit…
“She’s a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction.”
Haylie doesn’t have quite the split personality that Kris was singing about, but to give you an idea, she calls herself “a nerd” — maybe because she’s back in school.
Yet she’s up to date on just about everything, and she’s more of a hoot than any nerd I’ve come across.
Besides, what nerd has tattoos of her kids’ feet inked on to her own?
Hey, it’s no secret that newspapers are fighting these days to reach a younger audience — so any connection with a sharp cookie who offers insight into that crowd is a huge plus.
Millennials like Haylie can help us capture that age group by knowing how they think — and on the other side of it, what might bore them silly.
Plus, she’s a young mom with concerns about school and community issues.
She’s all about the world we need to reach, and happy to talk about it.
Not to mention, she’s a terrific pal.
Now if that’s not enough information, be patient.
I’m sure Haylie will be back with more to say.
Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.