Some reporters long to land interviews with the likes of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton or Broadway star Idina Menzel. For Southborough third-grader Shayna Rose, it’s a reality. The young journalist runs The Rose Reporter, wherein she interviews luminaries ranging from KISS’s Gene Simmons to Harold Kushner, the rabbi laureate at her temple, Temple Israel of Natick, and author of “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”
“He’s so inspiring to me,” Rose says. “He’s my rabbi, and he has changed so many lives. He wrote books for them, and he did so many great things for people that make them feel better. Maybe their loved one died, and he helped them and comforted them.”
Rose’s mini media empire launched in second grade, when she began interviewing her friends during recess. (She preferred reading to playing, so her teachers encouraged her to find a new way to interact.) Gradually she set her sights higher, landing an interview with Gov. Charlie Baker. She began distributing the interviews through a homespun school newspaper. Then, she says, “It got more successful, and I put it on video.”
Her parents helped her to set up a Facebook page, which now features her (incredibly articulate) sit-downs with everyone from Donald Trump (whom they approached cold at a recent rally) to Melissa Rivers, who’s hard at work on a book about her mother, Joan. Rose and her parents strategize about potential role models to feature, and then reach out. Many celebrities are charmed by the third-grader’s pluck.
“There is no trick or secret,” says Shayna’s mom, Julianne Rose. “Initially we got Trump and Clinton just by going up to the campaign trail in New Hampshire. Ever since then, we just find a contact for the celebrity, whether it be a publicist or agent or whatever, and we send out Shayna’s work. Probably one out of five that we send winds up becoming an interview. Everyone, whether they do the interview or not, have sent emails that we put in a scrapbook because they are so supportive of what Shayna is doing.”
The family has notes from Barbra Streisand’s agent, Tony Bennett, President George W. Bush’s office, President Jimmy Carter’s office, Caroline Kennedy’s assistant and more.
“I like showing a different side of celebrities, and I like to ask them questions like, ‘What’s your favorite meal and dessert?’ I also like to ask them about their proudest professional moment, the most valuable lesson in their career and what inspires them,” Rose says. (Apparently Hillary Clinton really likes chocolate.)
For now, she tries to update her site and newspaper every week or two. (Coming soon: a potential interview with “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo.) She’s also working on a book (a mystery, because she loves mysteries) and hopes to interview Queen Elizabeth II or the Duchess of Cambridge soon. Another dream interview? President Obama.
“He’s so accomplished and such a great president. I love reading biographies, and I admire him,” she says. Her favorite books are the kids’ “Who Was?” biography series.
But Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer shouldn’t panic too much. Rose doesn’t plan to become a full-time journalist when she grows up.
“I want to get into Harvard. I want to be a hedge-fund manager, because I love math,” she says.