Hilde Łysiak, nine-year-old reporter from Philadelphia: In reporting, you are only as good as your last story.
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A good reporter reports the news. Why. When. Where. Who. What. How, these are the words of a nine-year- old reporter Hilde Kate Łysiak, who has find herself under attack by the media and the public in April this year, when she wrote on the web page of her publication Orange Street News about the murder or to be precise about the suspicion that a man killed his wife with a hammer. Having learned that a crime happened in her town of Selinsgrove (5,000 inhabitants), which is located 241 kilometers northwest of Philadelphia, and that the police were on the way, Hilde hurried to the scene with her pen and camera. When she found out all the necessary information, she published the story online under the headline Exclusive: Murder on Ninth Street.

 

While Hilde’s work has been positively received by the majority of the community and many Facebook commenters, shortly after the publication of the story, her Facebook page and Youtube channel were swamped with negative comments saying she is too young to be reporting on a story of that nature, while others said she should be “playing with dolls” and leave reporting to adults. According to media reports, Hilde’s parents go through her emails and online comments before she sees them, and they felt she should know about the reaction to her story about the suspected murder.

But the young reporter does not care for negative comments and stresses that she maybe is young but is primarily a serious journalist. Hilde decided to respond to her critics. Wearing a button with “I Love Free Speech” on it, she read some of the negative comments out loud, and told her critics to get off their computers and do something about the news if they have a problem with her covering news. The article about the suspected murder came about when Hilde had been writing regular articles about a vandal in town and went to follow up with police after hearing the person was caught. When the police chief said he had to leave for an important story, she started digging, knocking on doors and interviewing sources to find out about the possible murder before confirming it with law enforcement. The story was then read by her father who had decided to immediately publish it.

I like to be a media star most of the time, but sometimes I feel like I’m only getting all this

attention because of my age and not because of my journalism. I like writing the stories more than being in the stories. And in reporting, you are only as good as your last story, Hilde Lysiak.

Hilde began her journalism career at a very early age, following her father, journalist Matthew Lysiak, around the country as he reported on breaking news for the New York Daily News. She launched the Orange Street News in 2014, when she was 7. Hilde gets help from her father, Matthew Lysiak, a former reporter for the New York Daily News, and her 12-year-old sister, Isabel Rose Lysiak, who handles videos and photos. Topics of her stories are news from her local community. She rides her bike around the town and often knocks on doors to interview local people for potential stories.

I like to report on crime. That is my favorite. But sometimes there isn’t any crime in Selinsgrove so I have to cover fluff.

Hilde’s journalism efforts have been profiled in the New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Daily News, NBC TODAY, LeanIn, Mighty Girl, TIME for Kids, and hundreds of other newspaper and television stations around the world. She has held the distinction of being named America’s most ambitious journalist and one of the top stories of 2015 by NBC TODAY. According to Literary & Media Manager Sharlene Martin, young Hilde signed a contract in late June for four books that will be based on true stories which she reported on. Possibility for filming a movie has also appeared recently.

We recently closed a four book deal for Hilde with Scholastic and her film/tv rights are currently being offered by the Paradigm Agency in Los Angeles. We are particularly interested in getting the word out around the world so that Hilde Cracks the Case books can be available in many different languages for children across planet, Sharlene Martin for Fairpress.

Led by Hilda’s words “you are only as good as your last story”, we can only conclude that the story of a nine-year journalist who stood up against the critics and decided to do something daring will surely inspire her peers but also adult journalists with years of experience.

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