Aspiring writers watch out. Benjamin Who could be your next editor or media publishing giant.
He may be only a seventh grader, but Who loves finding a good story and writing about it. Scholastic News Kids Press Corps acknowledged he has everything it takes to be the best Kid Reporter for Texas.
Who, a student at River Oaks Baptist School in Houston who lives in Sugar Land, was recently selected by Scholastic as a Kid Reporter for the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. Each year, a team of talented young reporters from 10 to 14 years old from across the country and around the world, are chosen to be Kid Reporters by the award-winning Press Corps. The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has been publishing stories from Kid Reporters since 2000.
As one of the chosen 45 Kid Reporters, Who will be reporting “news for kids, by kids.” He’ll cover breaking news and entertainment stories from anywhere, including Texas, even writing about sports from his hometown (think Skeeters) and on the national stage (think Astros).
The Kid Reporter stories will be published on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website and featured in select issues of Scholastic Classroom Magazines, reaching more than 25 million students in classrooms nationwide.
“Each year it becomes increasingly evident how passionate students are about engaging in their communities and following the news,” said Suzanne McCabe, editor of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. “This year’s talented team of 45 Kid Reporters have committed to covering the hard-hitting topics that students around the world want to learn more about, while developing the critical thinking and media literacy skills that are so important for their futures.”
Last year the students covered stories about hurricanes Harvey and Maria; the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.; Super Bowl LII; and the 2018 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Scholastic News Kid Reporters have interviewed news anchors such as Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric; former Vice President Joe Biden; composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, conservationist Jane Goodall, NFL quarterback Nick Foles, among other notable figures.
For Who, the inspiration for taking on the writing world as a career started on a family trip to Washington, DC, to visit the Newseum, an interactive museum promoting free expression, the First Amendment, and the evolution of communication.
“I thought it was really cool inside Newseum. After I saw and read about all the fearless reporters there, I knew writing was what I wanted to do as a career,” he said.
So how did Who and the editors at Scholastic meet?
“I regularly read Scholastic Magazine. I saw there was an application to be a reporter for the magazine, and I immediately jumped on that,” he said. “I knew this was something that I really wanted to do.”
The first requirement for the application is to write an article about an organization inside your community.
“I wrote about the Houston Rodeo. Then I wrote another essay about why I wanted to be a kid reporter and submitted some other ideas and suggestions for news stories,” Who said.
His first story for Scholastic was covering stories about MD Anderson Cancer Center and the children in their care.
“MD Anderson does so much more to make kids comfortable – like tons of activities and fun things for the kids to do,” he said.
True to journalistic form, Who pitches stories to the editor at Scholastic, and receives assignments as well.
“Scholastic might find something cool for me to write about or I might find stories about the community that might be interesting,” he said.
“I’ll look at local news, find what’s interesting and make sure the stories are good for kids, then I’ll talk to the Scholastic editor about it. I also look at Twitter and Google. Most of the time, I focus on Fort Bend County and Harris County, but I always look for stories that are amazing – all over Texas and anywhere in the world.”
He’ll be writing and researching his stories for Scholastic for the rest of his middle school newspaper career, including stories about technology, which Who said, “really can help people.” He’ll also focus on stories about people changing their communities in a positive way. Being the “good news” person that he his, he’ll be constantly digging for stories, looking for angles.
When he isn’t writing or spending time with his family, Who said he likes reading, because it goes hand in hand with writing.
“I play sports at school; swimming, volleyball and lacrosse. I’m editor of our quarterly newspaper – the Raider Review. We try and find a variety of interesting stories, like a recent story about a special dog our school received for emotional support for students,” Who said.
His advice to aspiring writers?
“Never stop writing. Keep writing. Even if you feel that you can’t write anymore…there’s always something to write about,” he said.