Every month, Olivia Higgins goes to work reporting the news in her Kelso neighborhood.
First, she knocks on doors and interviews her neighbors for story ideas, taking down notes and snapping pictures. She writes up the articles, lays them out on her tablet, and gets ready to print and deliver copies for the 12 households on her street.
Writing, designing and publishing The Hageman News mostly on her own is a tough task, but Olivia, 11, is up to the job.
“I’ve always loved old-fashioned things, so I thought it’d be cool to have a Hageman road paper for everyone on the road,” Olivia said.
She started writing The Hageman News, named after the road she lives on, early in the summer. The paper features local stories such as the escapes of her neighbor’s calf, the construction of a new swing set, and her recent camping trip that narrowly avoided a brush with the Wenatchee forest fires.
“We’re super proud,” Tyler Higgins said. “We’re blown away. … she came up with this concept on her own, and came into my office where I work from home. We’re a homeschooled family, so in a sense we’re all sort of self employed.”
Kizzie Higgins, who previously taught in public schools, said she’s become more creative from her own daughter’s love of learning.
Olivia’s fascination with history and “old-fashioned things” goes back a long time, Tyler said. She loves antique stores and vinyl records. At six years old, she asked for a black typewriter for Christmas.
That was “when we started to realize she was cooler than we were,” her dad said.
Olivia will continue the paper for at least a year, and plans to employ her 10-year-old sister Miah to help take pictures and her other friends to write comics and guest editorials. But her heart is set on being an author. She enjoys writing fiction, especially about the late 1800s and early 1900s, and said she’s already completed a seven chapter book called “The Woodcarver’s Daughter.”
Her writing process will feel familiar to many authors: “If I sit down and get it done, then it can take me a day. But sometimes it takes me longer. It can take me a couple days (to finish a story).”