Meet the Real Hero Who Inspired Apple TV’s “Home Before Dark”

Based on a true story — and a real WordPress.com website — the new series Home Before Dark is now streaming on Apple TV. It’s a compelling example of how launching your big idea online often leads to even bigger things.


Inspired by the life of journalist and blogger Hilde Lysiak, this mystery series debuted on April 3 and has already been renewed for a second season. The fictionalized version of Hilde’s story follows Hilde Lisko, a young reporter who investigates a cold case in a small town.

Critic Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com says Home Before Dark “has all the hallmarks of excellent family entertainment.” Check out the trailer to see for yourself:

Meet the real Hilde Lysiak

Back in 2014, eight-year-old Hilde started following in her journalist father’s footsteps by publishing her own newspaper, Orange Street News. What started with crayons and paper moved online, and the aspiring reporter launched a website using WordPress.com.

Her ambition drove her to pursue bigger stories, and she eventually started covering real crimes and other news in the town of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. 

We’ve had the privilege of following Hilde’s journey as a budding journalist and watching her publication grow. We first heard about what Hilde had built with WordPress.com a few years ago — and sent a camera crew to her home in Pennsylvania to learn how she was making a difference in her community.

It’s clear that Hilde’s online newspaper brought positive change to her community. Here’s what she told WordPress.com in a Q&A about Orange Street News:

I think that my newspaper is giving people the truth and access to more stories. For example, I covered a drug story because there were a lot of drugs at my local high school. Before I started reporting, it was an untold thing — something that no one really talked about. But after I reported the story, a superintendent wrote out a letter addressing the matter.”

Now 13, Hilde and her family have since moved from Pennsylvania to Patagonia, Arizona. But she hasn’t stopped reporting. In the past year, she’s made her mark in the journalism world, delivering an inspiring commencement speech about the future of journalism to West Virginia University’s Reed School of Media and receiving a junior Zenger Award for Press Freedom, alongside CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. 

Currently, she’s covering the ways the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting businesses and people in her new hometown. 

Hilde recently told People magazine that seeing her story come to life on the screen “felt like a dream.” Yet despite this newfound fame, it seems certain that she’ll stay focused on what matters most . . . covering her next major story.

What could you do with your own WordPress website?

There’s no doubt that Hilde Lysiak is a determined and talented young woman. But the truth is, we all have big ideas, and there’s something extraordinary in every one of us.

A website is the perfect way to make your voice heard, share your passions, and get your ideas into the real world.

Maybe you know a young person who is full of potential. Maybe you want to make a difference in the world. Maybe you could help other people bring their dreams to life. Maybe it’s time for a website.


Now is an excellent time to make a difference. 

April 13, 2020Inspiration, Journalism, Nonfiction, Popular Culture, , , , ,