EXCLUSIVE: MURDER ON NINTH STREET!, read the headline, accompanied with an animated GIF of a police beacon, on the Orange Street News website.
The reporter who beat the local newspaper, Daily Item, to the gruesome murder on April 2 was nine-year-old reporter Hilde Kate Lysiak from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
Hilde launched the news website when she was just seven years old. Her first exclusive was on the birth of her baby sister. Ever since then she gradually went on to report about local council meetings and crime stories.
“VANDALISM ON YOUR BLOCK? THE OSN WILL INVESTIGATE!” her website declares.
Hilde, whose favourite beat is crime, says she learned of the “murder on ninth street” after receiving a good tip from a source.
“I just like letting people know all the information,” Hilde told The Washington Post on Monday.
However, her exclusive did not go down well with most readers of Orange Street News.
“I think this is appalling that u would do a story like this when all the facts are not in yet,” wrote one commenter. Hilde’s parents were attacked too: “does no one realize that this is a 9 year old reporting this type of graphic information!I mean, what parents are encouraging this type of behavior!,” wrote a Facebook user.
Hilde, refusing to cow down to her critics, enlisted her older sister’s help and posted a video on YoutTube taking them head on. In the video, she read the most offensive and mean comments about her work as a reporter with a smile on her face.
“If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?” she said.
The future of journalism is in safe knowing that little Hilde is out there on the streets knocking on the doors in her neighbourhood, hunting down sources and piecing together information for her next exclusive.