Backlash for 9-year-old reporter covering breaking news

A NINE-year-old reporter who wrote about a suspected murder in her small Pennsylvania town is defending herself after some locals lashed out about a young girl covering violent crimes and said she should be playing with dolls.

Hilde Kate Lysiak got a tip about something untoward happening in Selinsgrove, 240km northwest of Philadelphia.

She went to the scene to get the details and posted a story and video clip on her website, OrangeStreetNews.com, later that day.

Soon after, her Facebook page and YouTube channel were clogged with negative comments urging her to "play with dolls" and have a tea party and questioning her parents' judgment in letting her do such work.

"It kind of gets me angry because just because I'm 9 doesn't mean I can't do a great story," she said. "It doesn't mean I can't be a reporter."

Hilde has run the Orange Street News since 2014. She 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.

What started out as a newspaper for her family, written in crayon, has become a community news source complete with website and Facebook page.

In recent weeks, in short stories under headlines frequently punctuated with exclamation marks, she has reported on a possibly rabid skunk shot dead by police, several acts of vandalism, the many empty storefronts in downtown Selinsgrove and the removal of a Christmas wreath from a building after several years, under the headline "Christmas Finally over in Grove!"

Matthew Lysiak said the comments on his daughter's stories are usually positive.

"She was embraced when she was doing cuter stories, but about six months into writing the paper she got more confident and started stepping outside the box," Lysiak said.


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