For Hunter Hanthorn, a UWM freshman interested in a media career, getting the chance to tour Fox 6 studios makes it more likely he will choose broadcast journalism as a future major. But Hanthorn and the 18 other students enrolled in the Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies’ new Living Learning Community (LLC) didn’t just get to see how the news was created. They ended up being ON the news.
Anchor Katrina Cravy featured the JAMS LLC in a story on “Studio 9,” a talk show that airs weekday afternoons. A couple of weeks later, the students also observed a broadcast of ESPN Milwaukee’s D List show, and student Jack Feria was interviewed by ESPN hosts Drew Olson (a UWM alumnus) and Channel 12 sports director Dan Needles.
“I found this experience unlike others,” Hanthorn now says. “It was really interesting and remarkable to see what happens behind the scenes in the control room. I think it definitely broadened my career path more. Broadcast journalism is definitely something I would like to consider.”
LLC students succeed, serve, lead
Living Learning Communities are an initiative at UWM designed to improve first-year student retention and connect first-year students with the resources they need to be successful. LLC students organize around a major or common interest, in this case, journalism and other media.
“The LLCs started here in 2008, and are offered in all of UWM’s Residence Halls,” says Assistant Director for Student Success, Keri Duce. “This year over 850 students are participating.
“LLCs continue to prove that students engaged in them complete more credits in their first year, have a higher GPA, are more connected to their peers and UWM, and they are more interested in service learning and leadership opportunities.”
The JAMS’ department’s first LLC was created by senior journalism lecturer Jessica McBride, a former reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and students at the UWM Post, who wanted to spark more student interest in journalism. In addition to Cravy and ESPN, students this semester will also hear from veteran journalists from the Journal Sentinel, On Milwaukee.com, the Milwaukee Bucks, WUWM, El Conquistador Latino newspaper and other media outlets.
Campus leaders, future journalists
“My goal for the LLC is to introduce the students early on to diverse media careers and to excite them about the field and encourage them to declare our majors,” McBride says. “I think too often these days, students hear dire things about media professions but there are many opportunities out there, and journalists play a critical role in a functioning society. I commend the administration and the JAMS department for creating and supporting the LLC concept. In particular, Associate Dean Jim Moyer worked really hard over the summer to make this happen. I suspect these students will be among our future leaders on campus and in the JAMS department.”
The students are also learning about campus media opportunities, such as the UWM Post, Media Milwaukee, Panthervision and the many student media clubs in JAMS. And they will be introduced to the media studies side of the program and media theory.
At Fox 6, students watched part of a news meeting, observed the control room and saw the “Real Milwaukee” program air live. For Cravy, the students’ excitement about media careers was invigorating. “The concept of LLCs is great because we learn the most from each other so even though they’re all interested in journalism, they come from different backgrounds and will see the stories in different ways,” Cravy says.
“What I saw in them was the excitement of seeing television produced and realizing they could be sitting in the producer chair, director chair, or anchor chair someday. Their smiling faces just confirm what I have come to believe but sometimes need to be reminded: That journalism is cool.”
Faculty and staff interested in creating new LLCs for Fall 2014 can find more information at www.LLC.uwm.edu. An informational retreat will be held October 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., in Sandburg Flicks. Contact Keri Duce at email@example.com for more information.