Hilde Lysiak is the kind of dogged community journalist that gruff old-school editors love and city council members fear.
She eschews press releases for shoeleather reporting, trolling the streets of her hometown, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, for human interest stories and hard-hitting news. She attends town hall meetings, and peppers the police with questions on the rare occasion crime strikes her sleepy Susquehanna Valley hamlet. She dreams of someday running a major metro publication as big as the New York Daily News; until then, she’ll have to be content with The Orange Street News, the monthly newspaper she founded in 2014. So far, the publication has 40 subscribers, a circulation of 200, and potential advertisers.
Did we mention that Hilde’s only 8 years old?
Columbia Journalism Review recently profiled the enterprising young journalist, who works in tandem with her father to publish “All the News Fit For Orange Street.” Named after the address Hilde and her family call home, The Orange Street News is your standard small-town newspaper, its pages filled with births, fundraisers, and fires.
What isn’t standard is the eight-year-old's single-minded devotion to her craft. She reports the news, writes the stories, and takes the paper's photographs herself. It should come as no surprise, then, that Hilde has journalism in her blood. She's the daughter of Matt Lysiak, a former New York Daily News reporter. Lysiak serves as Hilde’s editor, and helms the paper's typing, layout, and printing process. However, CJR author Joe Pompeo reports that Lysiak shies away from heavy-handed edits; despite his years of experience, he wants The Orange Street News to be Hilde's own effort.
Hilde’s still new to her craft, but as CJR points out, she’s still providing a public service to a town that lacks focused media coverage. And who knows? With time, advertisers, and a few more years of school on Hilde’s part, The Orange Street News might someday become a major player in the local news market.