This 9-Year-Old Reporter Is Blowing Our Minds

Image Credit: Joe Pompeo

Image Credit: Joe Pompeo

All writers have publications that are on their bucket list, and for me, The Guardian is one of those. I’ve pitched the newspaper multiple times to no avail, but I know that when it finally happens, seeing my byline in The Guardian will make for a great day.

So, imagine how impressed I was when a 9-year-old beat me to it.

Hilde Lysiak, who hasn’t reached double digits yet, published an op-ed in The Guardian this week entitled, “Yes, I’m a nine-year-old girl. But I’m Still a Serious Reporter.”

“I want to be taken seriously,” Lysiak wrote. “I’m sure other kids do, too. Grownups usually treat kids like they cannot do anything great. If adults don’t think we can do something, then it is hard for us to believe that we can. And then how will we have great things in this world?”

Lysiak founded the Orange Street News two years ago, and it has become a popular local news source in the town of Selingrove, Penn.  The paper and its founder have received media attention before, including from The New York Times, the Today Show, and others. Lysiak’s story really went viral last week after she reported on a murder in her small town.

“A man suspectedly murdered his wife with a hammer,” Lysiak reported in the video that broke the story. “I’m working hard on this on-going investigation.”

Lysiak went on to post a more in-depth story about the investigation, complete with quotes from the police and neighbors. Although her reporting was solid, people in Selingrove and beyond were horrified to see a child — a girl, no less — reporting on serious news.

In a video published on April 3, Lysiak read some of the comments that readers left on her report about the murder.

One read, “I’m disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she’s a journalist. What happened to tea parties?” 

(“The thing is, I like playing with dolls and having tea parties,” Lysiak wrote in her op-ed.)

“Nine-year-old girls should be playing with dolls, not trying to be reporters,” another declared.

Yet another was too filled with expletives to be repeated. The irony of someone who thinks Lysiak is too young to be a reporter swearing at her is really too much.

Lysiak deflected the comments in a way that would make any victim of schoolyard bullying proud. She stood up to the commentators, and turned the issue back on them.

“I know this makes some of you uncomfortable, and that some of you want me to sit down and be quiet because I’m 9. But if you want me to stop covering the news, then you get off your computer and do something about that news. There. Is that cute enough for you?”

“She doesn’t have a lot of fear,” Lysiak’s father, a former reporter for The New York Daily News, told The Washington Post.

When I reported my first pieces in college (none of which were nearly as serious as a murder) it was with a trembling voice. As I steadied myself to interrupt people going about their day to ask them questions, I could have used a dose of Lysiak’s confidence.

Many adults wish that they could pursue their passions without fear and stand up to critics. What Lysiak is doing would be an accomplishment at any age, and we could all benefit from taking a page out of her notebook.



If you like this article, please share it! Your clicks keep us alive!