Thirteen-year-old Olivia Rodgers has always dreamt of being an author, journalist or writer. But little did she know that day would be today, as she joins the Scholastic team as a “kid reporter.”
The award-winning Scholastic Kids Press program invites students ages 10 to 14 to apply to be a kid reporter, who covers “news for kids, by kids,” ranging from breaking news and current events to entertainment and sports.
“The [Kids Press] started with covering the presidential election in 2000,” says Scholastic Kids Press editor Suzanne McCabe. “We thought that young readers would be more engaged in the process if they saw kids their age describing what it’s like to be a candidate, how to be a candidate, what political rallies and debates are like … We wanted to bring what is a teachable moment alive for teachers.”
Olivia, a seventh grader at Woodbury’s E-Stem Middle School, was participating in a summer reading bingo program, where she saw a box to apply to the Scholastic program; after researching the program more, she applied and submitted a 500-word essay on the unjust death of George Floyd. She received her acceptance at the end of August 2020.
“I was jumping all around the house and I was so excited,” Olivia says. She was one of 300 international applicants; 45 of which were accepted into the program.
McCabe says, “We hope they have fun … [But] they’re also learning about the craft of journalism … They’re developing confidence, which is crucial. They also develop critical thinking skills; the ability to think on their feet when they’re talking with someone and ask questions, follow-up questions and to be confident to approach an adult about something.”
Though Olivia has hopes of becoming a writer, she’s also interested in the topics of social justice, racism and education, and has larger dreams of becoming a criminal defense lawyer. “I’m really interested in helping people, especially those who are wrongfully arrested,” she says.
Olivia hopes to report on these topics and more; she’s looking to interview Olympic medalist Jessie Diggins, who attended Olivia's elementary school as a child, and Gov. Tim Walz about the COVID-19 pandemic and how to safely transition back to school.
“I’m most excited to learn more about other people’s views,” Olivia says. “I know how I see things, but how do other people view things? Other opinions can help you learn, grow and have a more open mindset.”
The kid reporter call for applications opens this March; for more information, go to scholastic.com/kidspress.