9-year-old Reporter Who Broke Murder Story Fires Back at Critics

No, she won’t be sticking to “tea parties and dolls,” thank you.

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  • To be a good reporter, you need to stubbornly chase a story wherever it leads — and you need to not be afraid to make people mad. From the looks of things, 9-year-old Hilde Kate Lysiak has those requirements all figured out.

    There may be some journalism ethics lessons still ahead for her, but hey, it’s a good start.

    This novice reporter runs the Orange Street News, covering the stories of her local neighborhood — and recently she got a pretty huge scoop. She was at the police station trying to get more information on a vandalism story when the police chief dashed out to handle an alleged murder. Hilde went after him and was on the scene way before any professional reporters were, knocking on doors and getting quotes from the neighbors.

    Pretty impressive stuff — but some people in her neighborhood were mad at the girl for covering such a serious story, telling her to take the story down and have respect for the victim’s family.

    Hilde isn’t backing down, though. She posted this defiant response to YouTube, and today she has an op-ed in the Guardian:

    "Residents of Selinsgrove publicly called my work trash and told me I should leave it to the professionals. Other people told me I should stick to tea parties and playing with dolls.

    "Maybe that’s what the 'professionals' were doing while I was working the scene, because they sure weren’t there. I have since found out that the police had asked the media not to run the story. I may be nine, but I have learned that my job as a reporter is to get the truth to the people. I work for them, not the police. I think that some people are angry that I didn’t follow along like everyone else."

    Her father Matthew used to be a reporter for the New York Daily News, so you can see where she got her determination and nosiness from — not to mention a touch of sensationalism. Another decade or so of experience and training and she could be a force to be reckoned with.

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