Hilde Kate Lysiak, a 9-year-old from Selinsgrove, PA, is the writer, editor, and publisher of the Orange Street News, a paper covering events in her hometown of just over 5,000. Recently, Lysiak got a tip from a credible source that there had been a murder in town, and like any journalist, she went to the scene, interviewed neighbors, and wrote a piece. She wound up breaking the story hours before other area newspapers reported the crime.
Needless to say, some people were a little upset that a third grader was covering violent crime, and suggested that she play with dolls or have a tea party instead. Lysiak was (justifiably) offended by these comments, and recorded a video responding to her critics:
“If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?”
Lysiak has been interested in journalism for a long time, and used to accompany her father, a former reporter for the New York Daily News, to the newsroom. She's put out 12 issues of the Orange Street News since she was 7. (Her first lead story was about the birth of her baby sister.) She has been covering crime stories since she was 8, although this was her first murder story.
Honestly, good for Lysiak for taking the initiative to follow her passion at such a young age, and shame on her detractors. I first became interested in journalism when I was about her age (I was 10, and I was inspired by the coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks) and I landed my first big interview (with then-Gov. John Baldacci at the opening of Southern Maine Community College) shortly after I turned 12. Nobody criticized me for my age then, and I'm lucky I had people who were willing to nurture my dreams rather than shut me down and tell me to go play with dolls. Hilde deserves the same treatment I got.
I bet this isn't the last we're going to see from Lysiak.