12-Year-Old Crime Reporter Gives Commencement Address at West Virginia University Media School
The Daily Beast
“Her speech moved on to some of the journalism lessons she’s learned throughout her young career. Hilde Lysiak reminded graduates to “keep your ledes tight… talk to real people,” and “trust no one.” “And most importantly of all, stay laser focused on the truth,” Lysiak said. “If you do these things, I believe that history will look back on this moment not as the last dark days before the profession of journalism died, but as the new beginning.”
On her Orange Street News website you can read and listen to Hilde Lysiak’s full commencement speech. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Talk to Real People
Politicians and law enforcement can be great sources of information.
But my best stories never came from a press release — they came from biking down my main street, knocking on doors, and talking to the real people.
Who are the real people?
These are the small business owners. That group of old people who hang out at the coffee shop. Or just that nice neighbor man who is raking leaves.
It is here, buried in the nosey lady next door or at the church dinner, where the real nuggets of gold can be found.
Real people have real stories.
And if you take the time to listen, you would be amazed at what the real everyday people know.
Look — readers are smart. More often than not when given the right facts they will come to the right conclusions.
That’s the power of the truth. The power of facts.
And THAT is the REAL super power of a reporter.
Which leads me to my next point —
9) Don’t Mix Politics and Reporting —
Look — I believe the future has never been brighter for reporters.
Think about it. Has there ever been a time when more people wanted or needed the news more than at THIS very moment right now?
Because of the internet, people from all around the world can access information anytime and anywhere and all from the screen of their smartphone.
This isn’t a good thing.
This is a great thing.
Each one of these people is a potential subscriber to the Orange Street News.
Oh but I know what the skeptics all say, that newspapers might get online readers, but they don’t make money anymore.
To answer that claim, I’d like to point them to the only newspaper that exclusively serves the people of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
I’m proud to say that the newspaper I’m the publisher of, the Orange Street News, DOES make a profit. And I do this while also publishing all my stories online for free and without accepting paid a single dollar in advertising. In fact, my print subscribers are enough for me to pay for all of my expenses including printing along with a few upgrades.
Orange Street News