VANDALISM? CORRUPTION? HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO TURN? NO STORY TOO BIG OR SMALL THE OSN WILL INVESTIGATE! Please email news tips to Hildelysiak@gmail.com
By Hilde Kate Lysiak
EDITOR’S NOTE: I originally published the speech below in Newsweek.
People ask me all the time why I want to be a reporter. It’s a dying industry, they say!
I get why people think that. Everywhere I turn I see bad news about the news: like how people don’t buy newspapers anymore. Or how so many newspapers have had to close, and how the ones that have stayed open have had to cut their staffs. The future, they say, is bleak.
I’ve been told I should find another job. One with a future.
Well, not only do I think these people are wrong, but I believe the future has never been brighter for reporters.
Think about it. Has there ever been a time where more people wanted or needed the news than right now? Because of the internet, people from all around the world can access information any time and any where from the screen of their smart phone or laptop. 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.
But people say, 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. I do this while also publishing all my stories online for free and without accepting paid advertising. In fact, my print subscribers pay enough for me to pay for all of my expenses including printing along with upgrades, like how I recently bought a new computer.
First, I keep my expenses low. I have only one employee, my older sister Izzy. She is paid $25 per week to handle my website and shoot and edit my video news reports.
But most importantly, I keep working hard to get good stories, and that leads to new subscribers.
It isn’t complicated. I know that as soon as the Orange Street News stops getting exclusive stories that are important to the people, the people will stop buying the Orange Street News.
I’m okay with that.
Over the past year, the Orange Street News has exclusively reported on the problem with hard drugs at Selinsgrove High School, a scandal at my local fire stationscandal at my local fire station and hundreds of other stories that are important to the people.
But there is a bigger obstacle facing journalists today than losing money. Too many people just don’t believe what reporters are reporting anymore.
That’s why every story in the Orange Street News focuses on answering six questions: who, what, where, why, when, and how. I am careful to never put my opinions into my news articles and to report only facts. Of course I have opinions on politics too, but I don’t share those either. I never know who I might be interviewing or reporting on in the future and I want my readers to know that I will always be fair. I know that if I lose the trust of my readers, I might as well find another job. But as long as I have that trust, I can keep growing.
I know I won’t change everyone’s mind. People will still continue to tell me that it’s such a shame that I’m in an industry with no future.
But I know the truth: that reporting the news is not only important, but the best job in the world. And speaking as someone’s whose paper is growing — take it from me.
The best days of journalism aren’t in the past. They are just beginning.