Title: The Renegade Reporters
Author: Elissa Brent Weissman
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: August 10, 2021
Ash and her friends are reporters. They were ready to lead their school news show, The News at Nine, sponsored by Van Ness Media, when an unfortunate incident involving a dancing teacher, an irresponsibly reported story, and a viral video got them kicked off the crew. So Ash, Maya, and Brielle decide to start their own news show, The Underground News. And soon they stumble on a big lead: Van Ness Media, the educational company that provides their school’s software, has been gathering data from all the kids at school. Their drawings, their journals, even their movements are being recorded and cataloged by Van Ness Media. But why? Ash and her friends are determined to learn the truth and report it.
When sixth grader Ash accidentally posts an inappropriate video of a teacher, she’s removed from her school’s morning news show. Ash and her friends Brielle and Maya decide to start their own news channel online, using their school software from Van Ness Media. Soon after starting their show, they discover that Van Ness Media has been selling data from students, despite claiming that they make ad-free software. Ash and her friends didn’t expect to stumble upon such an important new story, but they have to find a way to get it out in the world.
This story had an important message about digital fingerprints. Companies are constantly collecting and sharing data that we put out on the internet. Sometimes it is helpful, such as when you get a coupon for a store you were just in. But sometimes it’s creepy, when they can track where you live and work.
There were some details of the way companies gather and track our data that I wasn’t familiar with before reading this book. This is such an important story because it teaches kids the dangerous implications of using the internet. It also shows that kids can make a difference in the world, since Ash and her friends are the ones that discovered and reported on the story.
The Renegade Reporters is a great middle grade story!
Thank you Penguin for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Have you read The Renegade Reporters? What did you think of it?