Got a big mouth?
Apparently, nearly 20 kids reporting for the Lake in the Hills-based KV Chronicles newspaper do, and they're proud of it.
KV, which stands for "kids view," is all about children, and chronicles news and events that matter to them.
The quarterly newspaper is written for kids and by kids -- and like most grown-up newspapers, even offers an online component that includes video stories.
For example, if you click on a story about a "Fear Factor"-style eating contest at www.kvtv.biz, you'll hear Luke Anderson, 9, of Lake in the Hills, guiding you through the images.
Don't worry, the only gross things that went down the hatch were brussels sprouts, and chocolate chip cookies covered in cheese sauce.
For all intents and purposes, the kids are real reporters. They carry press passes, notebooks, business cards, cameras and boundless curiosity wherever they go.
All of the story ideas come from the children as well.
"We don't give them any leads," said Lynn Anderson, the program's head instructor.
In the most recent issue, the kids interviewed a local soldier about life in the Army, cautioned readers about the dangers of myspace.com, and explained the reasoning behind canceled shows on the Disney Channel.
The upcoming issue will include movie reviews, kids' reactions to the "Hannah Montana" flick, and an interview with Jason Earles, one of the stars of "Hannah Montana."
The idea behind the newspaper and its accompanying media products is helping kids communicate responsibly, Anderson said.
"It's getting them confident enough to say, 'If I can talk about it, I can write about it,'" said Anderson, herself a former television reporter and producer.
And the "Got a big mouth?" slogan makes it cool to be a child news junkie.
Indeed, some of the kids say they didn't even like to write before they joined the paper.
Delaney Stanton, 10, of Lake in the Hills, said writing was something she had come to dread in school.
But ever since she joined the newspaper last year, she simply can't get enough of it.
She even volunteered to write stories for the paper's Web site between issues.
The best part about writing for KV Chronicles, Delaney says, is that she gets to cover things that matter most to her.
Most recently, she spent time backstage at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, interviewing Joshua Uster of Disney's "High School Musical: The Ice Tour." She's also one of the paper's cartoonists.
"It's about anything you want it to be about," she said.
For the older kids who stick with the program, there are leadership positions available.
For example, Michael Geheren, 12, of Huntley, has been with the paper since it started in 2006 and now serves as its senior reporter, and occasionally as managing editor. He's also in charge of KV Chronicles' Web content.
Michael's talent hasn't gone unnoticed.
Publisher Scholastic Inc. has tapped him to become a member of its kids' press corps.
As part of his duties, he'll tail the presidential candidates and follow athletes in the Olympics this summer.
"After joining KV, I realized that journalism is the thing I want to do," Michael said.
Now that the stories are in, Anderson and her sister, Ann Knipp of Huntley, will spend the next few weeks laying out the pages.
The paper is expected to hit the streets in mid- to late March, Anderson said.
The last class of the winter session was held a few weeks ago, and the room was abuzz with activity while the kids put the finishing touches on their stories and drew prizes for a raffle.
Each child also received a chocolate bar covered in a wrapper that showed photos of all of them in the program, and some of the highlights of this season.
Delaney, for example, was pictured with a smiling Joshua Uster.
"I'm saving it forever," she said, of the wrapper.
"But I'm eating this," Delaney added -- about the chocolate, of course.
KV Chronicles connections
Want to catch up on the latest kids' news? Click on the following links.
If you want to sign your kids up for KV Chronicles, visit www.lith.org or call the village's parks and recreation department at (847) 960-7460. You can also send an e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.