Cub reporter, 10, to report on Winter Olympics in Vancouver
Brennan LaBrie flashes his press pass. -- Photo by Jeff Chew/Peninsula Daily News
By Jeff Chew
Peninsula Daily News
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At 10, LaBrie is the youngest reporter in the world known to be covering the 2010 Winter Games.
He will join others with the Olympics media corps Wednesday, boarding the northbound "press train" from Seattle to Vancouver, accompanied by his parents, Colleen and Denis, and Port Townsend news video blogger and social media expert Jack Olmsted, who has acted as LaBrie's agent and new-media mentor.
Ask him how he knows he's the youngest Olympics reporter, and the articulate boy wonder shoots back with a quick answer:
"As far as I researched it on the computer, I will be the youngest working reporter."
LaBrie may be pint-sized, but he comes off as 10-going-on-20 and has a mind that absorbs information like a sponge.
"I think Google is one of the best inventions of all time, except soap and the wheel," he said without a blink.
Asked what he plans to do after the marathon media run Olympics news coverage and he said, "Probably take a nap."
With his news idol being the late CBS-TV newsman Walter Cronkite, LaBrie espouses the motto: "Good news is the best news," but he said he wouldn't shy away from harder news coverage, given the chance.
"Eve`that would allow him to stay longer, which can deposited into First Federal, which has set up an account for him. Or call his home at 360-379-5781.
LaBrie has become somewhat of a sensation around the Northwest, most recently talking to Totem Falls Elementary School kindergarten through sixth-grade students in Everett.
"I told them all about who I am and what I am going to cover at the Olympics," LaBrie said, his blue eyes beaming with energy.
His mother said he had kids smaller than he is coming up afterward asking how they could do what he does.
He was recently interviewed by radio KKNW/KIXI-FM in Bellevue, National Public Radio and KING 5 TV, and he has invitations from other media outlets around the country who want to talk to him on the air.
He will also blog for the Tacoma News Tribune at www.thenewstribune.com, with the help of adventure writer Craig Hill.
LaBrie has already video interviewed his idol, short-track speed skater Apolo Ohno, for Time for Kids.
"He is so amazing. I was so surprised that he was a regular guy," LaBrie said.
He hopes to run into Ohno again for a follow-up Time for Kids interview while at the Games.
"I definitely want to be a reporter," he said, adding he wants to try it all -- TV, radio, online and print.
Already, his video reports, some 35 of them, are on YouTube, and Olmsted said he will be helping the kid podcast his Olympic Game reports as well.
Mom's a writer
It is no secret that he is close to his mother, who humbly sits back with a loving look on her face and lets LaBrie do the talking he does so well.
She is a screen and children's book writer who said, "I'm a real fan of the written word and communication."
Colleen LaBrie is also an artist and art photographer, with her work displayed around the living room.
It is obvious her creative skills have rubbed off on her son, who is taking online courses, including some at the high school level, such as French.
He has been intensively studying other countries, he said, so he can better understand where the athletes live and have a better intercultural understanding as he interviews them.
It is clear that his mother has taught her son extensive organizational skills with him explaining how everything in his spotless "office" space has its place, including the planning calendar on the wall.
In addition to his work as a Time for Kids correspondent, LaBrie publishes the Spruce Street Weekly, a newspaper distributed in his Port Townsend neighborhood and in cafes and shops around town.
He frequently looks to his journalism mentor, Frank Garred, former publisher and editor of The Leader, and loves acting and music, playing piano and violin, and most recently starred as Tiny Tim in the Port Townsend Key City Public Theater's musical, "Scrooge."
Olmsted said LaBrie will reach up to 4.5 million youngsters who read Time for Kids and view Brennan's videos on www.schooltube.com.
"Basically, he's arrived," Olmsted said.
"He's 10 years old, the sky's the limit. Age is not an issue. He's on his way. He's a journalist. He's communicating with 4.5 million kids around the world."
Delivering his "Olympic Spirit Report" for Time for Kids, LaBrie said he will visit shops and other Olympics attractions, asking people how the Olympic Games affect their lives.
"I'll be covering all the events and the Games and give up-to-the-minute new reports," he said.
"To me it's more than athletics and the numbers and scores. It's really about the people."
Port Townsend-Jefferson County Editor Jeff Chew can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: January 17. 2010 1:02AM