NIU broadcast students can gain vital experience by working at Channel 8

By Deborah Costello

NIU broadcast students can gain vital experience at the NIU student run television station, Channel 8, which begins broadcasting Monday.

The student run Channel 8 news, which began broadcasting 17 years ago, is a fully operated news facility able to transmit a professional broadcast, said Kim Rupert, Channel 8 news director.

Most broadcasting graduates begin in smaller markets and work their way up in the field, Ruppert said.

“Working at Channel 8 news not only gave me needed experience, but also the chance to mature with the field,” said NIU broadcast student Michelle Solar who worked at Channel 8 last semester.

The Channel 8 news environment is for students who can get hands on experience in a variety of fields, said Associate Journalism Professor Robert La Conto.

This semester, the station has six experienced broadcast students receiving 12 credit hours for working at the television station, Rupert said.

The students are responsible for reporting and anchoring the news, she said.

“Of course it wasn’t easy, one learns to work under pressure and time restraints,” Solar said. If a student does something wrong “you will be criticized, but this is professional criticism,” she said.

“After all, at Channel 8 news your main goal is to get a job,” Solar said.

A student interested in becoming a television program director might find the Channel 8 laboratory setting useful in getting skills for that particular field, La Conto said.

NIU’s program is “one of the best in the nation, it is a superb facility,” he said. Channel 8 has put trained individuals in the workplace with “state of the art equipment,” he said.

The Rockford region and Southern Illinois areas usually have openings available to new graduates and other graduates become news reporters and writers, Rupert said.