This nine-year-old reporter has the perfect response to critics who say she should be “playing with dolls”

Posted by
Sarah Biddlecombe

A brilliantly fierce nine-year-old reporter had the perfect response to critics who said she "should be playing with dolls" rather than covering news stories.

Hilde Kate Lysiak, from Pennsylvania, came under fire after covering a murder story on her online newspaper, Orange Street News, last Saturday.

"I am disgusted this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist. What happened to tea parties?" wrote one commentator. "Nine year old girls should be playing with dolls, not trying to be reporters," wrote another.

But rather than take the criticism to heart, Lysiak uploaded a defiant video in response. 

"I know this makes some of you uncomfortable and I know you want me to sit down and be quiet because I’m nine," she said. "But if you want me to stop doing the news, get up and do something about the news.

"There, is that cute enough for you?"


Lysiak had the perfect video response to criticism

The trailblazing youngster launched her newspaper back in 2014 and now covers local news stories alongside uploading videos and photos created by her 12-year-old sister, Isabel Rose. The paper started off as a project for her family, written down in crayons, but has since grown to become a reliable source of community news with over 160,000 views to date.

On Saturday afternoon Lysiak received a tip that a murder had taken place in a small town called Selingsgrove, so she headed to the scene to interview police and neighbours.

Lysiak was first to break the story, called Exclusive: Murder On Ninth Street!, and she adds in the video that she "reported the news hours before [the] competition were even on the scene. In fact, some of these adult-run newspapers were reporting the wrong news, or no news at all."


A snapshot of the Orange Street News

After receiving negative comments from online critics on both her YouTube channel and Facebook page, she decided to create a video in which she read them out in a style similar to US TV host Jimmy Kimmel's series, Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.

Wearing a badge emblazoned with the words 'I love free speech', she giggles as she reads the comments to camera, including one from the former Selingsgrove Mayor, Sean Chrisine, that simply said, "sensationalist trash".

In the video, she also defends her work, stating, “Because of my work, I was able to inform people there was a terrible murder before my competitors got to the scene.”


Lysiak reading mean comments

Following the release of the video, which has now been viewed over 40,000 times, positive comments began flooding in.

Gene Park, himself a journalist for the Washington Post, wrote, "Hilde you are the literal future of journalism. You're not "trying to be a reporter." You already are. What's brilliant about it? You're owning it. Keep that up."

"You go tiny newsperson. Don't let them get you down," wrote another commenter.

Lysiak's father, Matthew, who is a former reporter at the New York Daily News, said his daughter had initially only received positive comments for her work covering news in the community. Speaking to The Guardian, he said, "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.

"The tea party comment really lit a fuse under her. She was pretty annoyed by it all."

Lysiak addressing the council

Lysiak requesting an extra recruit for her local police force

Lysiak has reported on all manner of news stories on her website, from an investigation into whether the Grove Street water is safe to drink to the discovery of drugs in a nearby playground.

She also appears in a number of videos on the site, including one in which she makes a request to a group of men, who are presumably members of her local council, that Selingsgrove hire an extra policeman. The seven men initially seem amused to see the nine-year-old holding a microphone, until she begins reeling off statistics relating to crime in the area. One month later, a new police officer had been recruited.

With exclusive stories and breaking news continuing to roll in to the Orange Street News, it seems that Lysiak is refusing to put her budding career on hold due to negative criticism.

As she says in the end of her response video, which you can view below, "Switch that off. I'm done."