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The next Matt Lauer?

Ten-year-old Owen Migel of Altadena is in New York for the 'Today' show's Kid Reporter Contest.

October 26, 2009|Yvonne Villarreal

The folks over at ABC may be scrambling to find a veteran news anchor to replace Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America," but over on NBC's "Today" show, they're looking for a rookie to liven up the morning circuit.

And one of Southern California's own is in the running. Owen Migel, a fifth-grader at Sierra Madre Elementary School, is one of 16 semifinalists in the "Today's" Kid Reporter Contest. The 10-year-old video game aficionado will appear on the program today in the third of four segments to choose a child correspondent.

"It's pretty cool," Migel said. "I watch the 'Today' show once in a while. Those dudes are OK, Al [Roker] and Matt [Lauer]."

His mother, Robyn, submitted his fourth-grade project on communication after a friend alerted her to the contest. In the 2-minute, 11-second video, "How video games help us to communicate," a shaggy-haired Migel explores the relationships formed through video games.

"He's always with the video camera making movies," Robyn said. "And he's really comfortable in front of the camera. This is going to be something he always remembers."

The Altadena boy, who flew to New York on Sunday, isn't nervous about his appearance -- he's already appeared in an X-Box 360 commercial. And besides, he's mostly looking forward to sightseeing.

"There's this medieval weapons museum I want to check out while I'm in New York," he said in an animated voice. "Oh. Oh. I also want to see that museum. The Metropolitan one."

After the segment airs today, viewers can log on to the show's website to vote for their favorite kid reporter. The four-week-long contest began earlier this month. Each week, a finalist is chosen; the four finalists will receive a cruise trip. The first-place winner will receive a trophy and will serve as a special correspondent for the show.

"I think people should vote for me because I'm interested in reporting," Migel said. "And I'm sure I can give [Matt and Meredith Vieira] a few tips."

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yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

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