A 9-year-old girl in Pennsylvania who started her own news website is making headlines after responding to critics who say she should be "playing with dolls" instead of reporting the news (video below).
Matthew Lysiak told The Guardian that his 9-year-old daughter Hilde Kate Lysiak developed an interest in journalism when he was a reporter for the Daily News and would occasionally take her to work.
"She found journalism really interesting, and my older daughter, too," Matthew said on April 5. "They would ask lots of questions."
Hilde started her own newspaper for her family, written in crayon. With the help of her older sister, she then started her own news website, Orange Street News, where she covered local stories in the community.
But Hilde’s latest story about a suspected murder in her small Pennsylvania town of Selinsgrove has some people wondering if the 9-year-old should be doing something else with her time.
The story was about a man suspected of killing his wife with a hammer. It included quotes from neighbors and police. Hilde went to the scene of the crime herself after being tipped off by her father. She posted a video clip to go along with the story.
Hilde posted the story on her website with the headline, "Exclusive: murder on Ninth Street!" Her Facebook page and YouTube channel became flooded with criticism.
Some commenters suggested that the 9-year-old should be playing with dolls and having tea parties, not covering murders for a news website. Hilde posted a video on her YouTube channel on April 3 in response to the criticism.
The video has since gone viral, garnering over 60,000 views in just three days.
"It kind of gets me angry because, just because I’m 9 doesn’t mean I can’t do a great story," Hilde told The Guardian. "It doesn’t mean I can’t be a reporter."
While some people were not a fan of the story, others encouraged Hilde to pursue her passion.
"You go tiny newsperson, don’t let them get you down," one YouTube user wrote.
"I see a Pulitzer in your future," another commented. "Keep reporting the news! (And remember: if nobody gets upset, you’re not doing it right!)."
Still, some people felt the story was not appropriate for someone Hilde’s age.
"I think she’s very talented and her aspirations are great, but it’s probably a bigger case than a nine-year-old should handle,” Anne Carter, a licensed practical nurse in Selinsgrove, wrote on the news website’s Facebook page. "Adults in the community are having trouble wrapping their heads around what happened. I can’t imagine how a nine-year-old can cover a story like that."
Despite the negative comments, Hilde said she has no intention of suspending her journalism career.
When The Guardian asked if she will have a follow-up story on the suspected homicide, she replied, "You’ll have to find out what happens in the next issue of the Orange Street News."
Click here to check out Hilde's Orange Street News publication.