During his sophomore year of high school, Matt Brickman’s honors English teacher planted the seed that started his broadcast journalism career. While reading Beowulf aloud to the class, the teacher announced that Brickman had the perfect voice for broadcast. Since then, Brickman, ’07 JOURN, has followed those dreams to the University of Illinois and beyond.
Brickman has dedicated himself to WICD ABC News Channel 15 since his senior year in college when he worked as an intern.
“I’d show up to work every day in shirt and tie and all the other interns were in jeans and t-shirts,” Brickman said. Eventually he was offered a full time position with the news station.
“The thing that I think got me my job was on Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day my senior year. All the other interns took off because that’s what you do, you go out on Unofficial, and I came to work. Two weeks later they offered me a job as the morning producer.”
Morning producer made the end of senior year a challenge for Brickman to survive. He worked at WICD from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., after which Brickman went to classes during the day. Despite this busy schedule, he was up to the challenge and graduated with his best grades ever.
Morning producer was a kicking off point for Brickman and from there he became a reporter and weather anchor for Channel 15.
Brickman is happy to help out with any requests his alma mater may have for him. He assisted with a College of Media recruitment video and participated twice as a panelist on Senior Saturday.
“Senior Saturday is an opportunity for seniors to come and hear from and interact with graduates of the program and basically ask whatever they want,” Brickman said. It is a fantastic opportunity for college students to get advice from the professionals.
“You get to actually hear it from people who are out there doing it and see what’s important,” Brickman said. “A broadcast degree is fine, but unless you can get out there and get your practical experience you’re going to be in a world of trouble.”
Originally from Windsor, Connecticut, Brickman now lives in Mahomet with his wife, Kate, who is also a College of Media graduate from U of I. They met in Political Science 101 and continued their friendship when they worked together at WPGU. She was the news director and recruited him to be a movie critic.
Other professional opportunities Brickman had during college were an internship as a music video show host at WILL, the PBS station in Champaign, working at Illini Productions covering football and basketball games, and interning at Good Morning America.
“I worked their summer concert series, setting up things in Bryant Park. This was another 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. sort of thing,” Brickman said. He set up before each concert and got to watch performers like Prince and Kanye for free.
Brickman is now studying meteorology at Mississippi State University. This online program will allow him to finally earn the title of meteorologist.
By Betsy Drazner '12 JOURN