Big Little Reporter Shares Local News with a Side of Kindness
Reporter Lenie supports business and spreads joy
The pandemic has been hard for everyone, forcing families to stay home so long they get on each other’s nerves while closing down the restaurants and shops that they know and love, sometimes before they have a chance to patronize them once more. That just seemed unacceptable to Briana Spechulli and her 4-year-old daughter Lenie Rose. While others lay low, waiting for it to blow over, they had an idea of how they could help.
Lenie had done a little modeling and knew how to charm a camera. There was an old microphone somewhere around the house, and nowadays just about everyone knows how to shoot and upload video to Instagram, so they got busy. The Spechullis grew up in and around Portsmouth, and Briana had friends who owned local shops. She made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Lenie would do an upbeat “report” in front of their establishment, which they would upload to social media and, hopefully, draw a little positive attention to the business and its efforts to stay afloat.
Their first assignment was a stand-up report outside Lenie’s favorite smoothie bar, The Juicery on Hanover Street. Other favorite spots, like G. Willikers Toy Shop in Market Square, were soon added to the “Reporter Lenie” Instagram page, and Lenie got more comfortable on the job with each new task. Within a couple of months, the tiny talking head was getting requests from all over the Seacoast, and Lenie had done about 20 reports by the weekend after Thanksgiving.
“We’ve met some new people and gone to some new restaurants and places we might not have gone,” says Briana, who was proud, though not surprised, to see her daughter (who was just turning 5) speak up to adults and take ownership of the role. “She’s an old soul. Some of the things she says are so profound and mature. She really connects with people.”
The video reports each get hundreds of views and they can all be found on Instagram by searching @reporterlenie. Anyone wanting to get the Reporter Lenie treatment for their own business can DM Briana, who manages the page.
There’s no charge for the service, though Lenie got a free chocolate Santa pop from Kilwins on Congress Street, and her tacos were comped when she did a report for the Taco Cat food truck in Kittery.
Her motivations are pure — and pretty basic.
“I want to spread kindness,” says Reporter Lenie. “And I want people to spread kindness.”