NORWOOD, Ohio — As most kids are returning to school classrooms, the old question of what they did with their summer break is likely to come up, and for one Norwood 9-year-old, that answer is reporting the news.
Stella Harrison gets rides to interviews from her mother, Caren. Her personally produced passion project perodical, The Norwood News, became more than a hobby for her during the months off of school.
“I think it’s important to stay connected and keep people updated,” Stella Harrison said.
The hand-written monthly paper, which has a cover price of $4, or pay-what-you-can, started after she saw some old family scrapbooks.
“I saw a newspaper clip of my aunt,” Stella Harrison said. “They were talking about her doing a newspaper, so I decided I wanted to do one, too.”
The Norwood News covers everything from local sports to politics.
“I had no idea so many interesting things were happening in Norwood,” Stella’s neighbor Matt Crawford said after reading her newspaper for the first time. “Where have I been?”
He’s also a fan because of what her project brings to the community.
“(It) ensures that our democratic society doesn’t lose something that’s extremely important – free thought and independent media,” Crawford said.
Each issue also features recipes and feature stories on local residents.
“I’m doing one this issue about Paisley Atwood,” Stella Harrison said. “She’s 8 years old and has six chickens and sells the chicken eggs.”
The junior journalist's hard work has drawn admirers both far and near – including rare praise from her younger sister.
“I just never thought someone in my family would make a newspaper,” Stella’s younger sister, Ana Harrison, said. “It’s just cool.”
She even helps her big sister with the distribution of the Norwood News.
“As long as she’s enjoying it – I mean, this is like school,” Stella’s mother said. “She’s doing reading, writing, research. She’s doing communication.”
With readership in the dozens, grown mostly on social media and at a monthly market, the September issue of the Norwood News is currently in production.
“I’ve learned a lot, but the most important thing is that I can do anything if I really want to,” Stella Harrison said.
With school starting soon, she said, the paper will be released on a more seasonal distribution schedule.