By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
4.6.16: National – (Politics): My first thought after reading a Washington Post article on a 9 year-old reporter who, in her town of 5,000, is covering crime news stories faster than her adult competitors was: What does this occurrence – journalism professionals being out-scooped by a child whose father is former NY Daily News reporter – say about the future, and current competency, of local news media? But after a conversation with an esteemed elder of mine, my thought transitioned from media, the act of communicating, to agency, the capacity of one to act in any given environment.
The social, and very much surface story is that 9 year-old Ms. Hilde Kate Lysiak of Selinsgrove, Pa., is a multi-media journalist who, through her brand Orange Street News, published an exclusive story about a “Murder on Ninth Street.” The human, and very much deeper story, however, is that Ms. Lysiak’s civic acts – she began the work of news gathering at age 7 – proves adulthood isn’t a requirement for one to exert their agency and voice in the world in which they live. For what was a right of passage for Ms. Lysiak, she didn’t receive a coordinated celebration from her community but rather scattered criticism that suggested she’s too young to engage in the profession of crime reporting and that her parents are, for allowing her to do so, negligent.
If measuring by the status-quo, then yes, the guardians of Ms. Lysiak may be somewhat avant-garde in their parenting. But if considering the potential of humanity and how often humans relinquish, or are unaware of, their agency, the parenting of Ms. Lysiak is that of the highest caliber.
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How could it be denied that teaching a child to be independent, analytical, aware, curious, and civically-engaged is ideal parenting? And how could it be denied that people have succumbed to grave danger due to their inertia? For an example of such, one needs to look no further than to the Flint Water Crisis.
Many news reports used the term “complained” when describing how the people in Flint responded to the undrinkable water. No action, moreover, zero revolution was had in response to a government negligence that could be characterized as an attempt at genocide. Am I victim blaming? No, in fact I’m pointing out how many of the people of Flint have been further victimized. When a person is not taught or put in a position to embrace agency, they become vulnerable to victimhood; they’re unable to push-back against oppression and can’t fend off attacks.
Ms. Lysiak is in a great position and it’s due to great parenting. She’s has conviction for the work’s she doing, which is, particularly at her age, invaluable. To her critics, Ms. Lysiak said:
“If you want me to stop covering news, then get off your computers and do something about the news.”
I agree with Ms. Lysiak, and not just about her view on the news, but the larger sentiment of her statement: do something.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo Credit: Matthew Lysiak
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