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This 9-Year-Old Reporter Is Your New Career Inspiration

This 9-Year-Old Reporter Is Your New Career Inspiration

By Jillian Kramer

A 9-year-old girl has put us all to shame when it comes to showing initiative and passion for our professions.

Hilde Kate Lysiak runs her own newspaper and website, Orange Street News, and reports on the happenings of Selinsgrove, Pa. And this weekend, the young girl single-handedly broke the story of a murder in her hometown — this is the sort of hustle you need to make it in journalism.

Acting on a tip from a source, Lysiak hit the streets and got the scoop — breaking the story before the local newspaper even caught wind there was a possible homicide in the town, according to The Washington Post. Her headline read, "Exclusive: Murder on Ninth Street!"

Lysiak and her father — a former New York Daily News reporter who often took his daughter on assignments with him — took serious heat from online commenters questioning whether a young girl really has a place at a crime scene.

The Washington Post reports that one commenter on the Orange Street News' Facebook page wrote, "I think this is appalling that [you] would do a story like this when all the facts are not in yet," while another said, "Does no one realize that this is a 9 year old reporting this type of graphic information! I mean, what parents are encouraging this type of behavior! (The comments have since been deleted from the thread.)

All the bitter vitriol didn't discourage Lysiak. She took to her site and posted a video of her reading and responding to several mean comments. "If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news," she says in the post. "There, is that cute enough for you?"

Later, she told the newspaper, "People thought I should be like playing tea parties or doing something other than being at the crime scene. Because of my work, I was able to inform the people that there's a terrible murder, hours before my competition even got to the scene. In fact some of the adult-run newspapers were reporting the wrong news, or no news at all." Many small towns and even some cities have lost most of their local press to budget cuts and mergers, so Lysiak's work is much more important than a more "age-appropriate" hobby.

For his part, Matthew Lysiak is immensely proud of his daughter. "She's really motivated," he told The Washington Post, adding "she has been in the housing projects in the Bronx with me. She doesn't have a lot of fear. She just wants to get the stories out. And she really wants to report real news."

Despite journalism's often self-described dire future, Lysiak says she wants to be a reporter until she retires. "I just like letting people know all the information," she says. "It's just what I really want to do. And crime is definitely my favorite."

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• Help a Girl Get an Education

Photo Credit: Orange Street News