Seventh-grader Jaden Jefferson brings his viewers objective news reports. He hopes to inspire other young children to pursue their calling.
Jaden Jefferson is in the seventh grade at Maumee Valley Country Day School in Toledo, Ohio. While he spends his mornings studying, at 12-years-old, he already holds a job. The young man is an up and coming journalist. He first gained national attention when he interviewed Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. He reports via a blog online as well as social media platforms, much like many new-age journalists. Jaden has gone viral yet again after being featured on the Facebook page 60 Second Docs. In a short video, the "kid reporter" shared his journey as a journalist and what motivates him to continue reporting.
"There's so much happening in the world right now," he states in the video. "I want to be in the front row seat to history and being a journalist is doing just that." He shared that he had first started his "job" as a reporter when he was only 10-years-old. However, he could not have managed his rise to press fame alone: Jaden says, "My grandmother, she drives me to different events, to city council meetings, to protests, to events like that." When he attends these events, the seventh-grader makes sure to tell the story as objectively as possible.
Jaden explains, "It's important that you're objective, especially when you're talking about politics." At a time when the media seems more polarized than ever before, his objective reporting is indeed a breath of fresh air. He adds that he has plenty of role models to look up to in the field, but that he looks up to any local journalist the most. "They do the hard work that really benefits the rest of the country," the 12-year-old notes. This is particularly important as our television screens are more often than not fixated on big media personalities from major news channels; their work would not be possible without the on-field efforts of hundreds of local reporters across the country.
Sharing his hopes for the future, he says his goals are to learn more and sharpen up his skills as a journalist. "If you're a journalist, you're always learning," he notes. "I look forward to learning more and telling different stories that matter to people in our community." As a young Black boy, Jaden represents the potential of American reporting. According to a 2013-2017 analysis of American Community Survey data by the Pew Research Center, only seven percent of all newsroom employees in the United States are Black.
Therefore, Jaden tells the story of what is possible if we encourage and support young Black children. In addition to interviewing Senator Warren, the 12-year-old has received recognition from Toledo City Council-Toledo City Council Resolution. He has also won a Certificate of Membership from the Press Club Of Toledo, the NAACP Freedom Fund Award, and the Helen Postell Award, an accolade presented to an African American youth who demonstrates excellence in community and academic achievement, by the Lucas County UMADAOP Federation. He affirms in his Facebook bio, "I want to encourage all youth to follow your dreams, take chances, and to step out on faith to pursue your calling."