Kid Reporter Has Newsworthy Future Rupert Murdoch, get ready for Brennan LaBrie! LaBrie is 9 years old, lives in Washington State, and puts out a newspaper called The Spruce Street Weekly. Learn how he puts out a newspaper without having to fall back on stories about John and Kate and Brittany. Host Scott Simon talks with LaBrie, Time For Kids magazine's 2009-2010 reporter finalist — one of 12 young journalists chosen from across the nation.
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Kid Reporter Has Newsworthy Future

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Kid Reporter Has Newsworthy Future

Kid Reporter Has Newsworthy Future

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

So what does it take to be a great national news reporter - a love of news, sound writing skills, the ability to tweet?

We decided to go to the source and ask 9-year-old Brennan LaBrie. He is one of 12 finalists chosen to be a reporter for Time for Kids, the magazine for the 2009-2010 school year.

Brennan LaBrie joins us from Port Townsend, Washington.

Brennan, may I call you Brennan?

Mr. BRENNAN LABRIE: Yes.

SIMON: Nice to meet you. How are you?

Mr. LABRIE: Good. How are you?

SIMON: I'm just fine, thank you.

So you had to write something to demonstrate why you wanted to be a reporter?

Mr. LABRIE: Right.

SIMON: What'd you say?

Mr. LABRIE: I said that I would be a good reporter because I love it and I'm ready to do anything they ask me. And I'm very excited about it.

SIMON: Aww, Brennan, that's good to hear. You know, one of the first things I had to do as a young reporter was go through the trash of the president of the Cook County Board.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Yeah, I know. That's what I said.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Had to find - have you ever heard of something called carbon paper?

Mr. LABRIE: No.

SIMON: Yeah, I didn't think so. In any event, we were looking for carbon sheets of the people he did business with. And talk about getting your hands dirty in the business.

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh.

SIMON: So what reporters do you admire?

Mr. LABRIE: Let's see. I know I really admire Walter Cronkite.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. LABRIE: And I don't know much others.

SIMON: Okay. Well, that's almost all you need to know.

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh.

SIMON: What do you think makes a good reporter?

Mr. LABRIE: A curious mind.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

Mr. LABRIE: A fast hand, and a love for the business.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: You enjoy writing?

Mr. LABRIE: Yes, I love writing.

SIMON: You put out your own newspaper, I gather.

Mr. LABRIE: Yeah.

SIMON: The Spruce Street Weekly?

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh.

SIMON: What do you talk about in that newspaper?

Mr. LABRIE: Well, I started it on February 2, 2008. I've done it for a year and half now. And I've really found out that I love journalism in general. I mostly report good news 'cause I believe good news is the best news.

SIMON: Like what?

Mr. LABRIE: When a new store opens. When there's an interesting person. I especially love interviewing people 'cause I believe everyone has a good story in them.

SIMON: Oh, have you just put your finger on it. You are absolutely right.

Mr. LABRIE: Mm-hmm.

SIMON: So what kind of interesting people have you written about?

Mr. LABRIE: I've written about people who are known locally, people who have relatives. Like, I just interviewed a man who is known locally. He's a really good coffee barista. And he is a juggler who can juggle five clubs, that's his hardest.

SIMON: Wow.

Mr. LABRIE: And he has a sister who works as an ambassador for Vatican City.

SIMON: Wow. A barista whose sister is an ambassador for Vatican City?

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh.

SIMON: Ooh, that's...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: You don't run across that every day, do you?

Mr. LABRIE: No.

SIMON: Yeah. So the Spruce Street Weekly comes out weekly, I guess. Huh?

Mr. LABRIE: Yes, except right now I've - after a year and a half, I'm doing it two monthly, just so I can have more time for Time for Kids.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. LABRIE: And I'm getting into video journalism now.

SIMON: Hmm. So what makes a good story, do you think?

Mr. LABRIE: A really good beginning, middle and end. Oh, and I use one thing for pretty much all my stories.

SIMON: What's that?

Mr. LABRIE: You know the symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympics coming up in Vancouver?

SIMON: Yeah, sort of. Yeah.

Mr. LABRIE: Inukshuk?

SIMON: Uh-huh.

Mr. LABRIE: That stone statue that resembles a man and is used to communicate -the Inuits used to communicate with other members of the tribe?

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. LABRIE: I use that 'cause there's a head of the story and then the neck that leads into the body of the story, and then it offshoots to the arms, the details, and then by the time you reach the feet, the story is over.

SIMON: Brennan, I think you have all the tools, my man.

Mr. LABRIE: Thank you.

SIMON: I'm very impressed. I think you're going to be a great journalist. More to the point, I have two daughters. Would you like to meet them?

Mr. LABRIE: Sure.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: You're the first boy I've said that to.

Brennan LaBrie, who's going to be a reporter for Time of Kids magazine for the 2009-2010 school year. Nice talking to you, Brennan.

Mr. LABRIE: Uh-huh, nice to talk to you too.

SIMON: And you can see my future son-in-law's video report from his neighborhood at npr.org/soapbox.

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