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13-year-old’s investigative journalism continues, as does TV show based on her crime-solving

Can a 9-year-old girl really solve a crime?

If the youngster is Hilde Lysiak, a self-proclaimed young journalist, formerly from the Selinsgrove area, the answer is decidedly yes.

Her father Matthew Lysiak introduced me to his daughter Hilde at a bookstore in Lewisburg a couple of years ago, where she autographed two copies of her first book “Hilde Cracks the Case” for my twin granddaughters.

I’ve known her father, who is a former reporter for the New York Daily News, for a few years, primarily because he is also a playwright, whose work “Heidi’s Monkeys” was locally staged annually for a few years, often at the Pajama Factory complex.

Lysiak proudly touted Hilde’s accomplishments, scooping seasoned journalists in North Central Pennsylvania with her homicide investigation in her own newspaper “The Orange Street News.”

Although it may have been only meant for her family, Hilde’s newspaper grew to include a Facebook page, a website, and eventually print subscriptions with postal delivery.

Her persistent crime-solving efforts resulted in lots of publicity, and her new-found fame even generated a feature in the New York Times, and a “book deal” with The Scholastic Magazine.

In 2019, the Lysiak family moved from Selinsgrove to Patagonia, Arizona, where Hilde continues to publish her newspaper.

As one of the youngest persons ever to deliver a college commencement speech, Hilde Lysiak addressed the graduating class of West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media last year.

After 13-year-old Hilde, who has three sisters, was named the youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Apple TV+, expressing interest in young Hilde’s acclaimed “nose for news,” decided to create a fictional drama titled “Home Before Dark.”

In this television series, the focus is upon a 9-year-old investigative reporter, who uncovers a murder mystery when her family returns to a tiny coastal town where her father was raised.

In the first season, the dramatic series often focuses upon Hilde’s fictionalized parents supporting her snooping, with her classmates and older (real-life) sister Izzy, helping the precocious news prodigy in moments of crisis.

Apple TV+ premiered “Home Before Dark” in April and with generally favorable reviews, the mystery series was quickly renewed for a second season, with production to begin after some of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

While Hilde’s father obviously relishes his daughter’s successes, Matthew Lysiak has also been in the media spotlight recently.

The book publishing world has taken notice of Lysiak’s recently released biography of Matt Drudge. It has been almost five years that Lysiak first thought of writing a book about the reclusive multimillionaire journalist.

Excerpts of the unauthorized biography titled “The Drudge Revolution” have been published in Vanity Fair, and Lysiak recently appeared on Fox News’ nightly television show hosted by Tucker Carlson.

Lysiak calls the press shy media mogul “the forefather of the modern populist news movement.” The book has reportedly raised concerns among certain political operatives as it details the conservative internet pioneer’s relationship to Trump’s 2016 campaign

Lysiak confirms that Hilde, now 13 years old, has been urged by her parents to return to Central Pennsylvania for a few weeks this summer, so she can hopefully get a bit of normalcy back in her life.

As a coincidence, Matthew Lysiak notes that while he was working in New York City, Hilde was born in Brooklyn. Now, a dozen years later, the young actress cast to portray the fictionalized version of Hilde in “Home Before Dark” is named Brooklyn Prince.

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