History was made at the Republican National Convention last month, with the nomination of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, the drama of Ted Cruz’s refusal to endorse his party’s candidate and the anger of delegates who stormed out of the convention.
There to get the scoop on all the action was 12-year-old Lilian Jochmann of Shorewood. An incoming seventh-grader at University School of Milwaukee, Jochmann was one of two “kid reporters” covering the convention for the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program.
Jochmann has previously reported on the Republican and Democratic debates in Milwaukee, and she traveled to Iowa to cover the Iowa caucuses. During her time in Iowa, she went on the set of the “Today” show and interviewed Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Lester Holt. Scholastic also sent her to Nashville to write about Tim McGraw, one of her favorite country singers.
Jochmann said she became interested in journalism because she enjoys talking to new people. She said the most important lesson she learned in Cleveland was to be aggressive in her reporting.
“Interviews aren’t always nicely set up for you,” she said. “I had to work on building up the courage to walk up to people, tell them I am a reporter and ask them a question. It’s hard for me to walk up to people and interview them, but the convention helped me with that.”
Jochmann’s journalistic moxy paid off. Among the people she interviewed for her article were former “Nightline” anchor Ted Koppel and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. She also interviewed Wisconsin delegate Laurie Wolf, who brought her onto the convention floor to interview Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney.
“The best part of the night was the time I spent on the floor talking to delegates,” Jochmann said. “I was the only kid there, and to be part of history is just amazing.”
With the convention in the rear view mirror, Jochmann is now focused on her next big scoop. She recently interviewed a chef for the Milwaukee Bucks, and she also wants to investigate concussions - a topic that impacts student athletes like herself.
Lilian’s portfolio can be viewed online at www.scholastic.com/kidspress. In addition to web articles, her stories are also published in issues of Scholastic classroom magazines, which reach more than 25 million students in classrooms nationwide.
While she enjoys the writing aspect of journalism, Jochmann said her ideal career would be as a television news anchor or a pediatric neurosurgeon.
“Luckily for me, I don’t have to decide that right now,” she said.