Washington Post offers invite to Fairfield sixth-grader

Photo of Justin Papp

FAIRFIELD — Katie Reddy loves science fiction and fantasy books.

For a long time, part of the 11-year-old Roger Ludlowe sixth grader’s nightly routine has been reading on her Kindle in bed.

For much of that time, her parents assumed she was reading the books, like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, that she loved. They were surprised, then, a little over a year ago to learn that Reddy was not escaping to the magical world of Hogwarts of Camp Half-Blood as many middle school readers would. Instead, Reddy was devouring stories of politics, world affairs, medical breakthroughs, business trends and whatever else appeared in the pages of the Washington Post’s digital application, accessed via her e-reader.

“We had no idea. She has always been a big reader and she would read on her Kindle before bed,” Reddy’s mother, Megan, said. “One night we were at dinner talking. I can’t remember what we were discussing, it was something political, and Katie just remarked on it with some really knowledgeable comment, and we asked her how she knew that.”

It was the Post.

Reddy had seen a deal for a six-month free trial in the Kindle app store and, on a whim, decided to sign up. She was nine at the time.

“I downloaded it and it took off,” Reddy said, of her interest in the publication.

Reddy’s interest in reading is not unique in her family. Her mother is a former English teacher in the Fairfield school district. Journalism is also not a profession foreign to the Reddys. Megan’s cousin is New York Times reporter Liam Stack, who spent seven years reporting on the Middle East and was most recently in Europe.

Stack, who graduated from New Canaan High School, and his cousin Megan reconnected last week, at which point Reddy’s mother told Stack of her daughter’s loyalty to his rival paper.

“He was like, ‘Get that kid a subscription to the New York Times!’ He laughed,” Megan said.

After hearing of Reddy’s interest in journalism, Stack authored a Tweet on Jan. 11.

“Today I learned that my cousin’s 11-year-old daughter somehow downloaded The Washington Post app — without my cousin’s knowledge — at the age of 9 and has been a loyal reader for the last two years,” Stack wrote, to his more than 40,000 followers.

The Tweet gained traction and prompted a response from the Post hours after Stack’s Tweet was posted.

“Please tell her that she has an open invite to spend a day with us. (And that @PostBaron keeps a jar peanut M&MS in his office). We’re all very excited to work for her someday,” the publication’s account Tweeted.

In the days since the social media exchange, Reddy has been the subject of stories by Good Morning America, the Today Show, and ABC News. In addition to her invitation to Wahington, D.C., Reddy has been asked to spend a day at the offices of the Today Show and at News 12. A date hasn’t been chosen for her trip to the Post, but her mother is in touch with a representative from the paper and a visit during Reddy’s April break from school is likely.

Her forthcoming time spent in various newsrooms may well be a valuable experience for Reddy, who one day wants to write for the Washington Post.

“I want to cover things that are happening around the world. Maybe stuff that’s happening in different countries. Maybe their elections or natural disasters,” Reddy said.

But for now, she’s the one whose story is demanding coverage.

“She’s just enjoying her 15 minutes,” Megan said.

justin.papp@scni.com; @justinjpapp1