Over the last year, our own Contributing Writer Tia Shah, has been writing an amazing column about trailblazing girls throughout history. This new Incredible Girls column is in that vein, only this column is about contemporary girls under the age of 25 who are doing awe-inspiring and significant things in the world. Every Friday in 2019, we are going to post a column detailing the life of an Incredible Girl and why you should know about her. Read on for a glimpse into the life of Hilde Lysiak.

Hilde Lysiak. Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/orangestreetnew

Hilde Lysiak first popped on my radar about three years ago, when news broke that the then 9-year-old had been the first to report a murder in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. At the time, I was studying journalism in college, and I just remember feeling a sense of pride, awe, a little bit of jealousy at her intrepid reporting, and knew that I wanted to keep tabs on her blossoming journalism career.

Last week Hilde was reporting near the Arizona-Mexican border when she was stopped by a police officer who asked for her identification and threatened to throw her in juvie. In a second encounter, Hilde began filming and asked what was she doing illegally, and he replied that she had followed him on her bike and was in an area with reports of a mountain lion, so he was just looking out for her safety. There was a mountain lion sighting in that area, and Hilde had reported on it prior to the incident. The police officer then told her that she wasn’t allowed to post the video or share his identity because it was illegal. Recording in a situation like that is not illegal and is protected under the First Amendment, in case anyone was curious. He then accused her of lying to him about visiting a friend in the area, and said he would contact her parents. The town of Patagonia, where Hilde was reporting, has since said it has taken action and dealt with the situation, whatever that means.

I admire how Hilde kept her composure during this incident, and continues to investigate and report the news. She also is trying to keep the focus on her work, and tweeted to dissuade people from trying to dox the police officer: “I am glad the town has ‘taken action’ but one note, I don’t believe people should spread around the Marshal’s personal information on the Internet,” she wrote on Twitter. “My focus is on protecting our First Amendment Rights. Thank you.”

This altercation aside, Hilde reports on some hard hitting news back in her Pennsylvania hometown. She has investigated burglaries, vandalism and even investigated a drug problem at the local high school. In an interview with Brit+Co, Hilde said that she is not worried about being liked.

“If you want to be popular, don’t become a reporter,” she said. “Public officials have threatened to shut down my paper. I don’t take it personally. It is part of the job. My job is to find the truth, not take sides or worry about people’s feelings.”

In addition to reporting, Hilde is also a published author, getting a deal with Scholastic publishing to write crime/mystery books with her dad, based on her reporting experiences. The series is called “Hilde Cracks the Case.”

I think Hilde is really inspiring, confident and articulate, and I can’t wait to see where her career and Orange Street News goes from here! She truly is an Incredible Girl.

-Sage Daugherty
Associate Editor
Girl Museum Inc.

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