Neena is a 12-year-old 7th grader from Hyattsville, Md. She wrote her first article for the IndyKids newspaper last year and returned this summer to write our cover story. Neena has big dreams for the future, including becoming an author, singer, lawyer or even president of the United States! As long as she changes the world for the better, she says she will be happy.

How did you hear about the IndyKids newspaper?

My sixth grade language arts teacher and newspaper committee adviser at school thought I would like the Writing the News IndyKids camp, so I decided to give it a try, and I did! We also read and annotate IndyKids articles, among other newspaper articles, in our class.

What motivated you to become a kid journalist?

I have always loved to write, not just news, but fantasy/fiction and poems, too. In fact, I started writing before I could actually spell, which unfortunately made some of my early stories unintelligible! When I was in fifth grade, I decided to join my school newspaper committee, and I realized that reporting on events in my school was really important and fun. I loved seeing the looks on the kindergarteners’ faces when we passed out the newspapers. They were always so excited. I really liked being able to inform people about what was happening in the world.

What advice would you give kids who are starting to write?

Some advice I would give is to not stress! Have fun and enjoy the writing process, and try to learn new things along the way. One tip I have is when revising a piece you are writing, read your article and pretend you haven’t read it before. It can help you realize what you might need to explain more, or what you should add to help someone who is new to this topic understand it.

Why do you think social justice news reporting is important? 

I think that social justice news reporting is really important because when there is injustice happening in the world, people need to know about it. The more people know about it, the more they might want to get involved and try to help. Newspaper articles have lots of information that can influence people, and that can have a huge outcome.