Julia M. Snyder
Associate News Editor
Nine-year-old reporter Hilde Kate Lysiak has received copious amounts of negative feedback about her coverage of a murder that occurred in her hometown. The aspiring investigative reporter was the first on the scene to cover the local tragedy, and was shocked by the fact that people focused on her age rather than her actual work.
According to The Daily Item, Ann Wochley was found dead on the living room floor in her home in Selinsgrove borough, located in Snyder County, Pa. Lysiak was one of the first on the scene, and published an article on her blog, “Orange Street News”. The article was written with ethics in mind, and included direct quotes from local law enforcement on the scene.
“Police are investigating a possible murder at 9th Street in Selinsgrove. A man is suspected of murdering his wife with a hammer at 9th Street in Selinsgrove, sources told the Orange Street News. Law enforcement sources will not confirm,” wrote Lysiak.
The report included a short video of Lysiak, which provided basic information about the tragedy, and how the journalist was working hard to find out more information. Isabel Lysiak, Hilde’s older sister, handles video content for their blog.
Lysiak’s investigative reporting skills are impressive; her desire to work hard at something she is passionate about is even more impressive. Yet some people disagreed with Lysiak’s choice to report on this crime.
Many viewers left discouraging comments on the nine-year-old’s website. Lysiak chose to make a response video to the negativity and shared her favorite remarks. Many people stated that she was too young to be writing about real events that occurred. Adults called the Orange Street News a “complete joke.” A former mayor of the borough called Lysiak’s report “complete trash.” Another ridiculous comment stated that the writer was “disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist.” The commenter then continued to inquire, “What happened to tea parties?”
Lysiak responded to the reports through a video on her blog. She seemed shocked that people would respond so negatively to her work, when it was accurate and timely. She encouraged those who were trying to dissuade her from writing similar articles to get off of their computers and cover the news accurately themselves.
To find a passion for something that could develop into a career, and to be able to explore a range of skills and talents at such a young age is an opportunity that should not be wasted. I can understand being unsure about exposing a child to something as graphic as a murder case; however, leaving comments on anyone’s hard work to encourage them to give up and go back to having tea parties is deplorable. Healthy interest in something as positive as journalism should be encouraged in kids, despite age, gender or race.
Lysiak is an inspiration to aspiring journalists who hear her story, including the one who wrote this article.