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9-year-old girl starts a newspaper. Her brother creates the comics.

The Charlotte Observer logo The Charlotte Observer 7/26/2021 Anna Maria Della Costa, The Charlotte Observer

Cora Spencer wants her neighbors in downtown Davidson to be in the know.

That’s why the 9-year-old writes, publishes and circulates her own newspaper, The Spring Street Times (previously titled the Spring Street News).

Whether she’s urging her editorial board to take a neighbor to task for not letting children climb “a very climbable tree” in the alley near their homes or reporting on a small fire on Walnut Street or the untimely death of Doug, a bee, Cora vows she’ll be the first on the scene to get the story.

“I like writing, and I like to know what’s going on, so I started to make newspapers,” said Cora, who will be a fourth-grader this fall at Davidson K-8.

“I don’t understand people who don’t like the news and won’t read the news. I guess they don’t know what they’re missing out on.”

Cora began covering the goings-on around her neighborhood in January, when she launched her first edition. She creates most of the content, which she likes to keep local to her street unless “there’s not much going on.”

If it’s a slow news cycle, she’ll throw in some national news. In May, along with stories on a birthday bash and summer sports camp she started, she included a blurb on the East Coast gas shortage.

Each month, her editions include a weather report, at least three local stories and a photo of the week. Cora used to create a crossword puzzle but “that got too hard” so she replaced it with a riddle.

She also pays her 7-year-old brother Auggie $2.50 to create a comic.

“I try to put some fiction in there, too,” she said. “I just like to find something interesting, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

While it’s pretty much a one-girl operation, she’ll enlist her aunt’s help for editing because she’s an English professor.

“Her writing style and the things she writes about always makes me smile,” Laura Spencer, Cora’s mom, said. “She will not let me help her with any of it. When she first started it, I assumed it would be short-lived, but seven editions later, it is still going strong.”

Once Cora gets a printer — her previous one broke and she’s planning on asking for one for her birthday in August — she plans to increase her circulation to about five blocks of her family’s street and five more blocks of the neighboring streets. She’s considering also circulating the paper to her new classmates once school starts.

Right now, with the printer on the fritz, she makes The Spring Street Times available online. She has an email address in case her neighbors want to send her a news tip or write a Letter to the Editor.

Her next issue is due out this week and will include stories on a group of children creating a band, her neighbors knocking down a wall in the garage and people setting off fireworks for the Fourth of July.

“I really like writing opinion (pieces),” she said. “I feel like I can say more from me instead of trying to get other people. Everyone who reads it likes it, usually. I’m pretty sure the neighbor who won’t let us climb that tree won’t like it.”

Besides being a reporter, Cora likes to play outside. She’s also learning how to knit.

“I really want to be a reporter,” Cora said. “But if that doesn’t work out I wouldn’t mind having my own game show.”

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