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 blond, bespectacled 13-year-old is gunning for my job.

“I’ve always been a writer,” Buescher said. “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, an educational spinoff of Time magazine distributed to 4 million elementary school students across the country. This summer, Buescher will be the magazine’s only credentialed kid reporter covering the Republican National Convention from the floor of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

“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,” said Kari Elsila, Buescher’s mom, remembering when her daughter got the call that she would be a kid reporter this year. 

Buescher spent the school year reporting for the magazine, reviewing the Lisa Graff novel Clatter of Jars and interviewing young Olympians. But to get the gig, Buescher’s application included an article she wrote 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,” said Laura Blackburn, Associate Editor at Time for Kids, who noted Buescher’s story was a major consideration for her RNC assignment. Another student reporter will cover the Democrats’ convention in Philadelphia.

Both Buescher’s parents are excited they, too, will be going to the RNC because of their young teen’s work.

“It’s the biggest event happening in Cleveland in her lifetime, with all due respect to the Cavs,” said her father, Michael Buescher.

The historic nature of this year’s convention, with its controversial likely nominee, isn’t lost on the cub reporter, who said she’s looking forward to learning 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,” she said.

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

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

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

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

In fact, Buescher said in some ways her age may be an advantage on this reporting assignment.

“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 said.

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

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