Dateline: Urbana, Illinois, Richmond Studio at Campbell Hall, home of the College of Media channel UI7 and classes in broadcast journalism.
Dozens gathered there to celebrate the new space, the Richard and Leslie Frank Newsroom, including Brian Williams of broadcast news fame, and Illinois men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood, who graduated with a degree from Kansas State University in radio and television communications before getting into coaching.
The studio “served as the site for the college’s broadcast journalism courses. Four student broadcasts are currently produced at the studio for the University of Illinois public access TV channel UI7, including UI7 Live, UI7 En Vivo, Illini Sports Night, and Good Morning Illini,” according to the College of Media.
“The renovation project includes a fully remodeled studio with a new control room. A new equipment storage and check-out room [was] built, as well as a video and audio production room where students will be able to record podcasts.”
“The existing classroom and computer lab located adjacent to the studio … [became] a collaborative room that serves not only as a class meeting space with a lab but also a newsroom and green room. A scrolling, LED news ticker … [was] installed around the perimeter of the newsroom and computer lab area.”
Said Colleen King, clinical assistant professor in journalism and the inaugural director of the Richard and Leslie Frank Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media, “This renovation allows students to report, produce and anchor in a setting that matches or bests professional news organizations. The Frank Newsroom has given our Illinois student journalists a competitive advantage as they prepare to enter the workforce.“
F&S project manager Mark Roessler:
Richmond Studio was originally built in the mid-90’s. The College of Media wanted to modernize the space from both a layout and technology perspective. The old space had more separate spaces, so most of the walls were removed to create an open environment and to allow for better visuals during broadcasts. The revamped space allows for an updated news broadcast and teaching setting by providing flexibility within the space and the latest broadcasting and teaching technology that gives the students a sense of a real working newsroom. Better acoustical separation was provided between the broadcast studio and the rest of the spaces as well as updated HVAC and lighting.
How do you think the renovation came out?
I think they turned out great and seem to meet the college’s goals and objectives. Students are already asking to do more things and spend more time in the studio spaces compared to before when the space was not as inviting. The flexibility in the classroom provides better collaboration during instruction and a good background to have during broadcasts. The College of Media is optimistic it will help attract students to the program.
What will students and faculty of College of Media like about the new renovation?
They will certainly like the new aesthetics and the up-to-date technology. There was a lot of discussion during the project about the news ticker that will scroll news feeds during the day and during broadcasts. I’ve never worked on one of those before.