13-Year-Old Clevelander to Report from the RNC

Maple Buescher loves to read. [photo: Michelle Faust/ ideastream]
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by Michelle Faust

I was pretty young when I started reporting, but few start as young as Maple Buescher. This thin, blond, bespectacled 13-year-old is gunning for my job.

“I’ve always been a writer,” says Buescher excitedly. “I hadn’t done a lot of journalism. So, I thought doing this would be an interesting way to get more into journalism. And also to be able to write, and hopefully, get some stuff published.”

Buescher is one of 10 reporters for “Time for Kids”—a spinoff of “Time” magazine. The educational magazine is distributed to 4 million elementary school students across the country.  This summer, Buescher will be the magazine’s only credentialed kid reporter on the floor of Quicken Loans Arena covering the Republican National Convention.

“I watched her have this conversation and watched her jump up and down. She was very thrilled. I haven’t seen her want anything like that for a long time,” says Kari Elsila, Buescher’s mom, remembering when her daughter got the call that she would be a kid reporter this year. 

Buescher spent this school year reporting for the news outlet. She reviewed the Lisa Graff novel “Clatter of Jars” and interviewed young Olympians. But to get the gig, Buescher wrote an article as part of her application about Cleveland’s preparations for the RNC.

“She spoke to the chairman of the Republican party of her county, the Republican party of Ohio. She was able to really hone in on really reliable sources,” says Laura Blackburn, Associate Editor at Time for Kids, who says the story was a major consideration for her RNC assignment. One other student will cover the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Both of her parents are excited they’ll be going to the RNC because of the work of their young teen. “It’s the biggest event happening in Cleveland in her lifetime, with all due respect to the Cavs,” says Michael Buescher, Maple’s father.

The historic nature of this convention, with its controversial likely nominee, isn’t lost on Maple.  She says she wants to learn what it’s like to be in the shoes of one of the 2,472 Republican delegates.

“At the convention, they’re entrusted to vote for the candidate that their state selected even though their own political views might not support that same candidate,” says Maple Buescher.

And what would she ask the candidate Donald Trump if she gets the chance?

“There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding his run. I think I might ask him why he thinks people don’t support him or don’t like him for president,” she says.

Over the past school year, Maple Buescher was a seventh grader at Monticello Middle School in Cleveland Heights. Daisy Tims, Buesher’s Language Arts teacher, says Buescher talked with many of her classmates about politics.  Tims warns, don’t take these kids for granted.

“I think people underestimate the 7th grader. And they know a lot more than you give them credit for,” says Tims.

In fact, 13 year-old Maple Buescher says in some ways her age may be an advantage.

“Since, I’m young, I do have a different perspective, because it’s new and it’s fresh and exciting and I haven’t ever experienced this stuff before. I was only 8 or 9 when the last presidential race was,” she says.

Of the estimated 15,000 credentialed reporters at the coming RNC, Buescher will likely be the only one who won’t be eligible to vote for president until 2024.

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