Junior journalist, 9, fires back at critics who say she shouldn't be breaking murder stories

By Rohan Smith

Hilde Lysiak started breaking news when she was 7 with her Orange Street News website. Picture / YouTube/Orange Street News
Hilde Lysiak started breaking news when she was 7 with her Orange Street News website. Picture / YouTube/Orange Street News

Hilde Kate Lysiak started breaking news when she was 7, leading the first edition of the newspaper she founded - the Orange Street News - with the birth of her baby sister.

It wasn't groundbreaking news but fast forward two years and Hilde, 9, is leading seasoned reporters to crime scenes after tip-offs from her faithful readership.

Hilde was at home in Selingrove, Pennsylvania on Saturday when she received a phone call leading her to believe something untoward had taken place. She rushed to the scene and spoke with witnesses and police before filing a story later that day.

The story headline read: EXCLUSIVE: MURDER ON NINTH STREET!" The report detailed conversations with police officers who informed her it was an ongoing investigation.

Sources told her a man, who she did not name, was suspected of murdering his wife with a hammer.

"This is terrible, just terrible," one neighbour told the OSN.

"They seemed like such a loving couple," another said.

From the scene, Hilde filed a video. She told viewers: "I'm working hard on this ongoing investigation."

Hilde beat local sources to the story. Radio station WKOK reported on April 3 that the home belonged to Kenneth and Ann Wochley.

News website Penn Live reported on April 4 that Mrs Wochley, 75, was the victim and that she was found on the living room floor of the couple's home suffering blunt force trauma to the head and upper torso.

In response to the story, Hilde received mail from her readers. Much of it was particularly negative. In a video she posted to YouTube, the 9-year-old read out some of those messages.

"I usually enjoy your stories Hilde but this ... Perhaps you are too young to understand the difference between decency/respect and sensationalism," Sally Grouse wrote.

"Sensationalist trash," former Selinsgrove Mayor Sean Christine wrote.

"I am disgusted that this cute little girl thinks she is a real journalist," another reader wrote.

Addressing the camera, Hilde fired back at her critics.

"Yesterday there was a murder. It happened just a few blocks from my house. I got the tip from a good source that I was able to confirm.

"Then I went straight to the scene and asked neighbours for more information. Because of my work, I was able to inform the people that there was a terrible murder hours before my competition even got to the scene.

"In fact, some of these adult-run newspapers were reporting the wrong news or no news at all. All the while the Orange Street News was out covering the event.

"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 nine but if you want me to stop covering news then you get off your computer and do something about it.

"There, is that cute enough for you?"

Hilde's father told The Washington Post his daughter "doesn't have a lot of fear".

"She's really motivated," he said. "She just wants to get the stories out. And she really wants to report real news."

- news.com.au

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