Author of the week
Don’t tell Hilde Lysiak that journalism is dead, said Concepción de León in The New York Times. The fifthgrader runs the only newspaper in Selinsgrove, Pa., and she was just 9 when she made headlines nationwide for being the first journalist to report a local homicide. Hilde, the homeschooled daughter of a former New York Daily News reporter, still bikes around looking for stories, knocking on doors and using her smartphone to snap photos for the print edition of her Orange Street News and record video for online. She has covered break-ins, fires, and a tornado, and she has built an audience of 600 paid subscribers (plus hundreds of thousands of online followers) while brushing off critics who say she’s too young for such work. “I think a lot of adults tell their kids they can do anything,” she says, “but at the end of the day, they don’t actually let them do anything.”
With her father serving as a co-author, Hilde now also writes books, said Kristin Baver in Publishers Weekly. She admits that the Hilde Cracks the Case picture books don’t meet the standards for accuracy she holds herself to in her newspaper work, but each book is based on a real episode, and the books do teach young readers the basics of good reporting. “Which I think is perfect,” she says, “because all 6- to 8-year-olds are curious, and curiosity is the key to reporting.” Meanwhile, she keeps gathering new material from the streets of Selinsgrove, covering scandal and crime when she finds them and not worrying that some adults have grown wary of her. “It makes me think I’m a good journalist,” she says.
Hilary Abe, courtesy of the author ■