Jaden Jefferson Reports: Taking the Journalism by Storm by Age 15

A person standing by a bridge.
Photo of Jaden Jefferson.

When we first interviewed Jaden Jefferson in 2019, we found the then 11-year-old surrounded by reporters at the Original Tony Packos, where he was getting his own hot dog bun signed, joining the wall of icons from the entertainment industry and beyond. At that age, he had been a guest on Ellen, and he had interviewed Elizabeth Warren, Brad Pitt, and Oprah Winfrey. 

“I decided to pursue news in the summer of 2019 because there were just a lot of events happening, and I had recently gotten a camera. So it was a resource to go out and cover news, really just get my feet in the water and get started,” he said.

A person interviewing another person.
An interview with Senator Sherrod Brown, (D) Ohio.

Now at age 15, the Maumee Valley Country Day School student has certainly not slowed down. His YouTube channel, Jaden Jefferson Reports, has grown from 5,000 followers in 2019 to 7.59K today. He has posted a staggering 2,000 videos reporting on everything from Toledo arts and culture to politics and crime. If he’s curious about it, he pursues it.

“With some things I cover, I don’t really have an expectation. I just let it flow and see what happens next,” Jefferson said. “That’s even true for a story I did on youth homelessness recently, because I didn’t even know that Toledo has the highest number of homeless students. I didn’t go into the story knowing, so I came out with a whole fresh perspective on it.”

A person interviewing another person.
Jaden Jefferson interviewing Billy Little Jr. (Dee Warner Case).

What is perhaps most compelling about Jefferson is that he decided he would start reporting and began doing it on his own — not through a student paper (though he recently started contributing to the MVCD paper) or after formally studying journalism. He has a self-assurance and maturity that belie his years. 

“A lot of the stories [I write for the school paper] are really about Toledo news headlines,” Jefferson said. “So the type of reporting I’m doing outside of school, I really just bring that in. And I think it’s important for younger people to get that perspective, because oftentimes, what they’re getting is just what pops up in their social media feeds. It’s not relevant at all, but even more so, it’s not relevant to their community. So yeah, I just tried to bring a local connection to it.”

A person being recorded for a radio broadcast.
Jaden Jefferson on the radio at Q105.5.

He has definitely made his mark, even receiving an award from Film Toledo for his reporting. You can follow Jaden Jefferson on his YouTube channel, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram @jaden_reports, and at facebook.com/JadenJeffersonReports.

Getting to Know Jaden Jefferson:

Favorite movie: I’ve never really had a favorite movie, but the movie I saw recently that I did like was Argyle.

What books are you into right now? The Great Gatsby. It’s one of those books that I wasn’t sold on initially, but I ended up enjoying it.

Favorite TV show: Abbot Elementary.

Favorite Y2K pop song: “Say it Right” by Nelly Furtado.

Favorite place to eat in Toledo: Fowl & Fodder.

Favorite place to hang out in Toledo: Going to see a good movie or hanging out at one of the Metroparks.

Do you have any pets? I have three little dogs: a poodle mix, a Shih Tzu, and a terrier mix.

Best tip for overcoming imposter syndrome: Just looking at other people that are doing the job as well, using them as an example. Because I’m sure everyone experiences that.