Monday, November 19, 2018

Flash: ace kid reporter rips lid off the game game

Ava Gray, left, interviews Ellie Skalla, of Oak Park, about the game she created.

     The 2018 Chicago Toy & Game Fair was a noisy, crowded, sprawling affair filling Festival Hall at Navy Pier over the weekend. There was no obvious focal point, but a blur of activity: wandering Star Wars characters and Boy Scouts, virtual reality, stuffed animals, board games, more than 100 young inventors hyping handmade games at science fairish booths.
     Ava Gray, 12, received her press credentials, plunged in and started asking questions.
     "What's your name?"
     "How do you spell that?"
     "How old are you?"

     One of 25 young reporters nationwide who won a spot on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, the South Side 7th grader had, like any good journalist, formed a strategy for the event.
     "I want to investigate the ping pong tournament and the yo-yo challenge," she said beforehand.
     Before she had stepped through the entrance, however, she was snagged by a fair flack, Emily Blosser, from Brilliant PR & Marketing, who guided her toward the Young Inventor Challenge.
     "They're coming up on a break," said Blosser as they walked. "The perfect time to interview. So we'll walk back there. All right?"
     Gray was delivered to a pair of sisters, Emma and Kyra Bichler, 10 and 7, who talked about their game, Breakaway.
     "I like code," said the older girl.
     Gray never stayed in one spot long, but moved from one inventor to another, peppering questions.
     "Can you tell me more about this game?"
     "Did you invent this?"

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  1. I like the way Ava, after her initial plans had been torpedoed, was able to forge ahead and take advantage of her opportunity to interview the game inventors.


    1. Good for you for noticing, John. Actually, it wasn't torpedoed so much as abandoned. Only afterward, when I returned to our pre-event interview (to be honest, I wanted to see if it was worth going downtown on a Saturday morning) was I reminded she had wanted to focus on ping pong and yo-yos, two things she bypassed. I was going to highlight that in the story—often in journalism your initial hunch is cast aside once you start digging into the story. But that could be seen as critical, and I tried to step lightly with a subject so young.

    2. She looks so alert -- wouldn't want to try to get a fast one by her!


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