Meet an IndyKids Reporter: Raya El-Hajjar

Raya El-Hajjar, age 13, is the author of the Issue 73 cover story for the IndyKids newspaper.

Q. How did you first hear about IndyKids and how long have you written with them?

A. My mom always got IndyKids for her classroom, and I always remember reading it. When I was in 5th grade, I started wanting to write for IndyKids, so I filled out the survey on their website. I’ve been writing for them for three years.

Q. Why do you think social justice reporting is necessary?

A. When thinking of social justice reporting, I usually imagine this analogy. Think of every event as a picture. Many news outlets crop the image, cutting out the parts they don’t want readers to see. Or they use filters to cast the event in a different light. The whole point of social justice reporting is looking at the whole image, with no filters or cropping.

Q. As a kid journalist, why do you think your voice and your peers’ voices are so important?

A. Kids in the present day have been forced to grow up far too fast. Contemplating the perils of our planet’s future, or seeing hate crimes or police brutality in your own neighborhood are not events usually linked with childhood. My generation has the unique experience of uplifting our own voices and stories in order to express the real world that we are growing up in.

Q. What are some things that you have learned from being a part of IndyKids, and how have those things impacted you and your writing?

A. One thing that I have learned from IndyKids is the importance of sharing your views. As a kid you might not expect your opinions to be heard, but writing for IndyKids has allowed me to realize that your voice is always heard by someone.

Q. What subjects do you most enjoy writing about?

A. Actually, I really enjoy writing about subjects that I don’t know very well, because through the research and writing I learn and can start to form my own opinions.

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