High school students take their cue

July 15, 2013

By Elise Dismer ’13

For Dr. Robert Jacobs, decked out in his trademark black jacket, the best thing about his day is coming to work in the field of broadcast media.

“I love what I do,” said Jacobs, a communications professor at Bradley. “I can’t stand not coming in tomorrow and doing work in my edit bay.”

It’s this passion for the broadcast industry that Jacobs wanted to pass along to his students at the 16th annual Illinois Broadcasters Association’s Broadcast Workshop. Each year, Jacobs leads a weeklong broadcast workshop on campus for 24 high school students from all over Illinois.

“This is the most fun I have every year in college teaching,” he said. “These kids come and offer me a new challenge. They’re very excited and exciting.”

Jacobs kicked off this year’s workshop by challenging the high-schoolers to change how they think of themselves.

“From now on, you’re not kids anymore,” he said. “You’re young professionals.”

Jonathan LeVert, a senior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, Ill., really took that to heart.

“When he said we were professionals, I could feel the responsibility settling in on our shoulders,” LeVert said. “It felt cool being referred to as professionals instead of amateurs.”

LeVert, who has his own YouTube channel, said he’s excited to apply all the things he’s been taught at Bradley to his own work.

“I’m learning very useful things that I wouldn’t have even caught or considered doing before this workshop,” he said. “I’m starting to realize how important things like lighting, setting and camera equipment are, and how they all work together.”

To apply these concepts, LeVert and his fellow young professionals were charged with the task of creating an original, one-to-two minute news broadcast, to be shown to parents and friends at the end of the week.

This viewing is Jacob’s favorite part of the workshop. He said families frequently give their kids standing ovations. “They can’t believe the kids could produce a television show in five days. To see the kid’s eyes light up at their parents’ wonderment – it’s a wonderful experience,” he said.

Aaron Wells, a junior at Bradley studying electronic media and the head counselor at the workshop, agreed. “It’s really rewarding seeing how much they learn,” he said.

All in all, Jacobs said this group has potential.

“These kids are the brightest of the bright,” he said. “They’re the best I think Illinois has to offer for the future of broadcast education, and possibly broadcasting as a profession.”