Unique Duo Holds Down the Anchor Desk
On Halloween 2020, senior Tirzah Sprigela spent several hours hanging out in the Michel Student Center as well as other campus buildings randomly stopping people with a possibly scary request: She wanted them to say one word — and one word only — on camera.
She then assembled those varied words into a story for BUTV, the live, student-produced news program shown weekly on Facebook and YouTube. Because the participants or their friends were literally part of the story, viewers flocked to the broadcast that week.
“It ended up with a really funny, spooky kind of story,” the journalism major said. “Strangers coming together ... I love meeting new people and, in a way, I was connecting. (After the two-week pandemic quarantine) Not a lot of people knew other people were here. It was amazing, a very fulfilling project.”
She and her broadcast anchor partner, senior Sheridan Hurtig, are among the first all-female anchor teams for the student broadcast.
Sprigela grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and developed an interest in camera work early on when she and her sisters created a YouTube channel. Later, she spent time at her uncle’s movie production company learning more about what goes on behind the scenes. Sprigela was excited to join BUTV early in her Bradley career.
“I was always interested in telling people's stories to media ... I feel like you can get more people's attention. Your field of impact is way more when you tell something as a story, rather than just give someone facts.”
Hurtig is more accustomed to being in the spotlight, competing in pageants from a young age and working in TV shows and movies in the Chicago area. She also learned television news basics in high school. Being on air and in front of a camera felt comfortable to her.
Like Sprigela, Hurtig enjoys the chance to tell a story in creative ways to a wider audience.
“I like getting my own voice heard, so I can understand if other people want the same,” said the television arts major. “Every single person has lived a different life, a different story. I'll be driving in my car and I'll see these people driving next to me and I'm like, ‘I wonder what they're doing today,’ or ‘I wonder what their family life is like.’ There's so many people in the world and we know nothing about them.”
Hurtig, whose mother, Sari, is a 1991 graduate, has been with BUTV in other roles since her sophomore year. She takes her news interest beyond campus by working for Peoria-area TV and radio stations behind the scenes.
A Sigma Kappa, Hurtig has amassed more than 800 hours of community service. Much of that is through Food For Thought, her platform educating people about combating food insecurity, which she started at age 10 after a period where her family needed food pantry services. She’s also president of the Jewish Bradley Chabad student group.
Because of BUTV’s once-a-week broadcast, Hurtig said the pandemic hasn’t really had an impact.
“We don't really have to worry as much, and we switch off people, not the anchors but sports and entertainment and weather … and we're all wearing masks unless we're on camera.”
Both anchors hope to stay in the business — Hurtig as a reporter/anchor while Sprigela aims to use her neuroscience minor to aid her efforts as an investigative journalist.
“Neuroscience really helps me understand people and the scientific basis of why people respond the way they do,” she said. “I want to work with people who are in vulnerable situations.”
— Bob Grimson ’81