Reporter Hilde Kate Lysiak got the tip early Saturday afternoon that there was heavy police activity on Ninth Street. She hustled over with her pen and camera, as any good reporter would, and soon she posted something short online, beating all her competitors. Then, working the neighbors and the cops, she nailed down her scoop with a full-length story and this headline:
The online story not only beat the local daily paper, but she also included a short video from the crime scene, assuring viewers that “I’m working hard on this investigation.”
Then Monday came and Hilde had to go back to third grade. She is 9.
And here are the life lessons oh so many adults journalists forget:
And it was her tenaciousness on the vandalism story that led her to the murder scene, her father said. “She heard they’d got the vandal,” Matthew Lysiak said. “She goes down to the police department and says, ‘I heard you caught the vandal.’ The chief says, ‘I’ve got a big story, I’ve gotta go.’” Hilde began following up, and in the town of about 5,000 people, soon learned where the action was. “Because she’s the only one doing community news, she’s developed sources who trust her to cover the news. One of her sources contacted her, and she was able to confirm it with law enforcement. She knocked on every door, like she’d seen me do with the Daily News. There were no other reporters there.”
She headed home with the basics, wrote it out for her dad, who posted it on the website. Then she went back to the scene, ferreted out more information and posted a full story, photo and video hours before the Daily Item, a newspaper and website which covers four counties in the Susquehanna Valley. The Item’s editor and the borough president did not respond to emails seeking comment Monday.