The Power of Kids

Alula with Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter at a 2018 press event for Black Panther

This year, 45 Scholastic News Kid Reporters from around the world have been reporting “news for kids, by kids.” These young reporters, of which I am one, are between the ages of 10 and 14. We cover everything from campaign rallies to film openings to athletic competitions.

“Our objective is to give our young readers a perspective that they can’t get from other news sources,” says Suzanne McCabe, editor of Kids Press, which was founded in 2000. “Along the way, our reporters learn to observe people, places, and events more keenly, ask critical questions, and report their insights and findings to their peers.”

In the past year, Kid Reporters have interviewed Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic candidate for president; and author Rick Riordan, among others. We have written articles about extreme weather events, endangered animals, artificial intelligence, space exploration, and volunteer efforts that are making a difference in communities around the world. 


Kid Reporter Ryan Stoltz with Senator Amy Klobuchar earlier this year on the day that she announced her presidential candidacy in Minnesota


I wanted to learn more about the experiences of my fellow reporters, so I reached out to three of them by phone and email. Ryan Stoltz is from Minnesota. Because he will turn 15 soon, this is his last year as a Kid Reporter. I asked Ryan what he'd like to do when he grows up.

“My dream job probably would be as an ESPN announcer,” Ryan said. “I really enjoy both watching and playing sports, and I also enjoy reporting and media. Combining both of those things would be the perfect job.”

When asked how being a Kid Reporter has benefited him, Ryan said: “It has definitely helped me get an early start so that I can kind of make those mistakes early. You learn from those mistakes so that when you get out there in the field, you’re already a pro.”


Kid Reporter Lilian Jochmann interviews NBC News anchor Lester Holt in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2016.


Kid Reporter Lilian Jochmann, 14, is also completing her final year as a Kid Reporter. “I learned a lot of really important skills that can be used in life, in work, anywhere,” Lilian said. “These include organizing how I’m going to write the story, organizing the questions, and thinking deeply about what I want to know from this person and what other people might want to know.”

The third student with whom I spoke, John Woo, lives in Seoul, South Korea, which makes him an international reporter. “Before becoming a reporter, I liked reading the news,” said John, who is 10. “But all the news was made for adults. The newspapers in Korea use Chinese characters, and they all have words I don’t understand. I was looking for news for kids when I came across Scholastic Kids Press.” Now John is not just reading the news, he’s also writing it.


Kid Reporter John Woo tries out the glass-bottomed observation deck in the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea.


I asked each of the reporters what their favorite assignment has been. “I’ve enjoyed all the stories I’ve been able to do, Ryan said, “but my favorite stories were probably covering Super Bowl 50 in California and Super Bowl 52 in Minnesota.”

John’s favorite assignment was his first one, a visit to the Lotte World Tower in Seoul. “I got to report about the new fifth-tallest building in the world,” John said. “I was able to show the world the hidden wonders of the tower. I also got to sit on a glass observation deck thousands of feet above the ground.”



“I’ve had several incredible assignments,” Lilian said, “but one that stands out is covering the 2016 Iowa Caucus. I went on the set of Today in Des Moines and watched them tape their caucus special. I spoke with Al Roker, Willy Geist, and Sarah Palin, and had a sit-down with Lester Holt.

Interviewing Holt is still one of the coolest experiences of my life. As a young, inexperienced journalist, I loved hearing him talk about covering presidential campaigns and his process for interviewing candidates. Covering the Iowa Caucus is what got me fascinated in politics, government, and elections, a passion that is still a huge part of my life today.”

Ryan said that just because he's a kid, he can still be as confident and professional as an adult journalist. “Sometimes, people don’t take me as seriously as they should,” he added. “You really just have to forget about them. Yeah, you are a kid, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a professional. Kids do have a power in this world.”

Photos courtesy of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps