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Pennsylvania reporter, 9, brushes off criticism of homicide coverage

"If you want me to stop offering news, then you get off your computer and do something about the news. There. Is that cute enough for you?"

By Ben Hooper
Pennsylvania reporter, 9, brushes off criticism of homicide coverage
Hilde Kate Lysiak, 9, the editor, publisher and lead writer for the Orange Street News, hits back at critics who say a 9-year-old shouldn't be covering homicides. Screenshot: Orange Street News/YouTube

SELINSGROVE, Pa., April 6 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania 9-year-old who acts as editor and lead reporter for her own newspaper is defending herself from critics who say she shouldn't cover homicides.

Hilde Kate Lysiak, 9, of Selinsgrove, who has been writing, editing and publishing the Orange Street News for more than a year, said in a YouTube video Sunday that online commenters had a lot to say about her most recent piece -- an exclusive report from a murder scene.

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Lysiak said she acted on a tip Saturday afternoon about police activity on Ninth Street, so she visited the scene, spoke to police and neighbors and was able to write a story bearing the headline, "EXCLUSIVE: MURDER ON NINTH STREET!"

She also posted a short video filmed at the scene.

Lysiak's Sunday video featured her reading some of the harshest criticisms of her work in the style of Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segments.

The comments included a former mayor of the town calling her article "sensationalist trash" and another commenter lamenting: "I am disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist. What happened to tea parties?"

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Another commenter wrote: "9-year-old girls should be playing with dolls, not trying to be reporters."

Lysiak ended the video by addressing her critics directly.

"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. But if you want me to stop offering news, then you get off your computer and do something about the news. There. Is that cute enough for you?" she said.

The budding journalist, who said she developed a passion for the field when her father worked for the New York Daily News, has been profiled by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Today show.

Lysiak said she won't be giving up her chosen career anytime soon.

"I just like letting people know all the information," she told The Washington Post. "It's just what I really want to do. And crime is definitely my favorite."

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