Hilde Lysiak believes that journalistic integrity has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with a passion for getting the truth to the people.
That’s why the nine year-old founded Orange Street News, a printed and digital publication based out of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, back in late 2014, and has published an article online nearly every day since.
Though she covers the trials and tribulations of young life and smalltown living, Lysiak’s made headlines for the kind of investigative reports that wouldn’t seem out of place in a more established newspaper. Topics including inefficient policing and abuse of power by university authorities have been covered, but the Orange Street News first received international attention when Lysiak broke news of a suspected murder.
The article received over 600,000 views in the month following, and with them came disparaging comments. Former mayor Sean Christine entered the conversation too, calling the paper “sensationalist trash”.
Lysiak addressed the criticism via a video in which she reads comments dismissing her as “cute”, and suggesting she should be playing with dolls instead of covering local issues.
“I know this makes some of you uncomfortable, and I know some of you just want me to sit down and be quiet because I’m nine,” says Lysiak, leaning into the camera. “But if you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computer and start doing something about the news.
There; is that cute enough for you?”
Lysiak is an inspirational example of what happens when a child, of whatever age, is allowed to explore their interests. No doubt her father’s leant a guiding hand with his journalistic background, but ultimately Lysiak’s story acts as a testament to other kids looking to pursue their curiosities and passions.
Perhaps that’s why Scholastic have signed her for a four-book deal, with Hilde Cracks the Case set to launch in 2017. Whatever the case, Lysiak certainly has a thrilling future in store.