CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Every week, eight-year-old John Wortman sits on his back porch in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his scripts and coffee mug as he records his news shot that he calls “John News.”
“I call it John News because it’s my news,” Wortman said.
Wortman energetically welcomes his viewers to his newscast every week where he brings the latest news to his community.
He uses his dad’s iPhone as his camera and an iPad is what he uses as a teleprompter.
Wortman recorded his 52nd episode this week after an entire year of recording newscasts that have been posted on his YouTube channel every week.
The Ephesus Elementary second-grader came up with the idea when the COVID-19 pandemic first started last year.
“I was watching a lot of YouTube videos, and I wanted to be a YouTuber. I also want to make people happy during coronavirus, so I decided to start John News,” Wortman said.
Wortman comes up with his own story ideas and he and his dad, Thomas, set up zoom interviews with different people in the community.
He has interviewed different community leaders such as Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Police Chief Chris Blue.
“I’ve interviewed more than 40 people,” Wortman said.
He has also interviewed individuals from all over the world about the impact COVID-19 has had on schools, as he has talked to a teacher from Canada and a school principal from Germany.
Wortman said his show has about 450 viewers a week from all over the world.
“I thought it would just be a project, I didn’t think I would have very many people watching it and I didn’t think so many people would like it,” Wortman said. “It just feels great because I feel like I’m doing something that’s good.”
Even when the pandemic ends, he has every intention of keeping the John News episodes coming.
“My goal is 100 episodes, but we’ll probably do more than that,” Wortman said.
“If you want to do something that is not impossible, just try hard and you’ll get it done,” Wortman said.
Wortman said when he grows up he would like to be an astronaut, a teacher, and a YouTuber.
Big Frog Custom T-Shirts creates the shirts and half the proceeds go to TABLE, Inc., a nonprofit that feeds children in John’s community.