In early April, news of a grisly murder shook a small town in Pennsylvania.
And the fearless female who broke the news? Well, she was none other than 9-year-old Hilde Lysiak, the publisher and sole reporter for Orange Street News, her town’s only operating newspaper. Lysiak, who later explained that she received a tip on the crime from a “good” source, was proud of the fact that she was able to break the news of the murder hours before the competition.
“Hilde Lysiak here, reporting … where a man suspectedly murdered his wife with a hammer,” Lysiak says in her breaking news report, her ponytail blowing in the wind. “I’m working hard on this ongoing investigation.”
The video ends there. It’s no longer than a 10-second clip, but it was enough to launch Lysiak into viral fame, igniting waves of admiration and even more criticism from those who felt it was inappropriate for a 9-year-old to cover such heavy-hitting news.
In her follow-up video, Lysiak reads some of the hateful messages she received. “I’m disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist. What happened to tea parties?” reads one. “Nine-year-old girls should be playing with dolls, not trying to be reporters,” says another. Lysiak’s face after reading that last one aloud pretty much sums up how she feels about the criticism:
I have to admit that when I first watched Lysiak’s report, all of my mama instincts went into high alert. Just hearing the words, “murdered with a hammer” from a little girl with freckles sprinkled across her nose made my stomach churn. But let’s be real — it’s not like Lysiak is doing this alone, and I’m sure her safety is a top priority for her parents. Lysiak’s father, Matthew, is a former reporter for the Daily News. He claims Lysiak first got bit by the journalism bug from shadowing him at work. One can only assume he’s protecting his daughter as she learns the ropes in the process. And it’s clearly a family business, with 12-year-old Isabel Lysiak (Hilde’s sister) handling video, editing, and her own “Ask Izzy” column.
While I have to wonder how much of Lysiak’s empowering message and no-nonsense attitude is coming directly from her and not her parents, I still think that the only thing we need to be focusing on is the fact that it’s downright amazing that her family has given Lysiak this platform to pursue her passions. Actions speak louder than words, and Lysiak is learning daily what every “Girls Can Do Anything” campaign aims to teach. Honestly, I can’t imagine what a gift it is to this young girl to know from such a young age that she can do anything and that she has the full support of her family.
Also, it should be noted that Hilde Lysiak is no stranger to making headlines.
Last year, the New York Times featured little Lysiak, giving her mad props for running her small town’s only newspaper. Back then, Lysiak opened her newspaper for the bargain price of only $2 for a yearly subscription. These days, a one-year subscription will cost you $10. Hey, you have to admire a business woman at work, right?
At the end of the day, Lysiak is ignoring the criticism and continuing to pursue her dreams.
“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 9,” she said in her response video to her critics. “But if you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computer and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?”
Mic drop, guys. We just got schooled by a 9-year-old, and I couldn’t be happier.
You go, Lysiak. We’ll be reading and watching — and cheering you on the whole time.