People on the Internet are always mad about something—politics, religion, education, Gap ads. But in Pennsylvania last week, Internet haters focused their shade-throwing efforts on 9-year-old Hilde Kate Lysiak, reporter and founder of the Orange Street News.
Inspired by her father, a former New York Daily News reporter, Lysiak started the Orange Street News in 2014 at the ripe age of 7. The monthly paper is written completely by Lysiak, with a website that is updated daily. She covers vandalism, drug use at the middle school, council meetings and anything else going on in her hometown of Selinsgrove.
While her articles are generally well-regarded, Lysiak faced backlash after breaking a story on an alleged murder. The online story, which featured quotes from neighbors and law enforcement as well as observations from the scene, caught ire from readers who told her that “9-year-olds should be playing with dolls, not trying to be reporters.”
To be fair, there were plenty of positive comments on the post, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and those irksome wheels were way off track. It’s interesting that adults would resort to child-like behavior, even using foul language and condescending remarks, to condemn a young girl for having passion and drive. Instead of encouraging her to pursue her dreams, critics started shaking their heads. They refused to take her seriously, locking her into the small box of what they thought a 9-year-old girl could achieve.
While I’m sure it wasn’t a pleasant experience for a third-grader to go through, it’s probably a good thing that Lysiak learned at a young age that there are always going to be people waiting to criticize and tear you down. But luckily for the world of journalism, Lysiak was unfazed by the comments. She uploaded a video responding to the haters, telling them to “do something about the news” if they wanted her to stop covering it. Now, she’s back to reporting and probably a few steps closer to adding a Pulitzer to her shelf.