Matt Brickman’s road to 30 Rockefeller Plaza — the midtown Manhattan landmark where he reports for work as a WNBC meteorologist — began on the UI Quad, circa 2003.
“When I was a freshman, I walked around Quad Day looking for anything in media that I could work on right away. Broadcast journalism classes were still a couple years away and internships at local news stations seemed like a job for upperclassmen, as well.
“I stumbled across WILL-TV’s booth and asked about an internship. They were starting a new show called Video Diner and said I could come help.
“Brian Paris and Allison Davis Wood were working on the project and had me start by editing videos and importing into our digital archive. Somehow, this grew to me hosting the show as a sophomore.
“My first on-air job also provided what still is the biggest thrill of my career: a bartender at the White Horse Inn recognizing me from the show and offering me a free drink.”
Topping the 2007 College of Media grad’s list of most influential Illini: retired broadcast journalism professor John Paul.
“He’s the first person who made me think I was good enough to do this for a living. I remember getting picked to anchor election night coverage in 2006 and how big of a deal that felt like.
“It gave me the confidence to get my next internship at WICD-TV, which quickly led to my first job. John is still someone I go to for advice and make sure to visit with anytime I’m back in Champaign-Urbana.”