URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — It takes a lot of people to create a news broadcast, and the next generation is getting ready to become anchors and reporters at the University of Illinois.
Now, thanks to a $7.5 million donation to the College of Media from Rich and Leslie Frank, students are learning in a high-tech space. It’s the largest gift in the college’s history.
Richmond Studio in Urbana looks completely different now than it did just a few months ago, and students are more than excited.
“I’m still stunned,” Jackie Barba, a student journalist, said. “Every time I walk in I feel like I’m just somewhere else.”
She was in complete shock when she saw all the changes to her student newsroom. Barba is one of many taking in the new layout, new technology and the entirely renovated space.
“It’s really changed the game for everything that we do,” Hannah Lonergan, another student, said.
Both Lonergan and Barba are involved in the various U of I broadcasts. They produce, anchor, create and lead many of the shows with a team of students.
“It’s acting as a stepping stone because I really feel like this is the space where I’m learning to do what I’m hopefully going to be doing when I’m graduating,” Barba added.
It’s not just students filled with excitement; so is Brian Williams, a veteran journalist.
“It starts here,” Williams said. “For the lucky few that get to go here, get trained up, and get into the industry, the employers are going to realize they got a first-class education here.”
Williams is ready to connect with the College of Media and watch these young minds grow into the journalists the world needs.
Broadcast journalism is Lonergan’s dream, and with this new environment, she knows she’ll be able to get there.
“Being able to anchor here, produce here, that just fits in with all of my goals,” she said.
Students create four different shows a week. They range from sports to lifestyle to even broadcasts in Spanish.
You can keep up with their work at this website, and watch their live streams each week.