Senior from Western Illinois University wins three INBA scholarships, close to breaking a record

A senior from Western Illinois University is poised to do what has not been done before in the history of the INBA:  Devin Brooks may win his FOURTH Scholarship this Spring.
   There have been several two-time winners, but after his third win last April, Brooks moved into elite territory. He remembers his first win in 2018, as a freshman: “I was really surprised. I was shocked that I was chosen. Of course I hadn’t been a part of an organization like INBA before. Basically I just went in there trying to tell them that I’m in need, and at the same time, I’m dedicated to what I do. I actually enjoy being a journalist.”

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  For Brooks, being a journalist means being heavily involved at WIU’s News 3 during the Spring and Fall semesters, working part-time at Tri States Public Radio, and adding summer internships at WGEM-TV in Quincy and then WREX-TV in Rockford. For the most recent internship, he worked from home (in St Louis) as a web producer

  One of his main responsibilities was updating the latest local and state coronavirus numbers. “That task reminded me how important our job is to keep people informed with what they need to know on a daily basis.”

  The pandemic has made for challenges at school too, but Brooks says it’s pushed him to get better at digging for story ideas. One story he’s covered at Western is the selection of a new president
   And one thing he’s faced as a journalist is racism. “I’m in a predominantly white community, and whenever I’m covering meetings or covering police briefings, when I’m the only black person in the room, I wonder ‘Are they really telling me the truth? Or are they giving me the runaround? Or treating white reporters differently than they treat me?’ But at the same time, I’m telling myself that I can handle this. I know what my job is. I know it’s worth coming to work and getting the information out to the public.”
  Brooks credits his parents for his ability to stand up to discrimination, and his can-do attitude. They’ve been helping him aim for a career in TV news for a long time. He remembers first being attracted to microphones at about seven years old, then visiting the KTVI-TV studios and meeting the personalities. His mom would buy him books related to journalism and how to be a news reporter. He names KTVI’s Mandy Murphey and NBC’s Lester Holt as particular role models whom he’s watched and learned from.  And he also credits his faculty directors at News 3, which have included Jasmine Crighton, Emily Manley and now Jessica Martin. “I think a lot of my directors have really kept my spirits up, you know, during the time of a lot of noise that we have going on.” 

  Now he’s serving as a mentor to younger students at WIU, who sometimes have a hard time covering race issues. “I know how they feel, but at the same time I also know how important it is to not give up and to fight for what’s right. It takes time for them to see it. We have to take breaks and we have to mentor each other.” 

Nora Baldner

The support INBA gives to student journalists is vitally important as we all discover how technology is changing news dissemination, INBA monitors and actively encourages truth, transparency and accountability from students and their universities.

Andrew Tanielian

INBA taught me how to network in a meaningful way. The scholarship process taught me how to endure a hard job interview and thrive.

Jennifer Fuller

INBA is not only a great networking tool, it also provides advocacy and support for journalists in an ever-changing world.

Alexis McAdams

INBA played a huge part in preparing me for my broadcasting career. The INBA conventions connect students with on-air talent and news directors who give feedback on now to improve your work. Through relationships I made at those conventions, I was able to obtain my first on air reporting job.

Molly Jirasek

One of my top goals in my career was to get to Chicago. Thanks to INBA I met Margaret Larkin. She remembered our great conversations about Chicago and first alerted me to a job opening in the city I might be interested in. Lo and behold, I got that job! INBA helped me reach my dream.

Mike Miletich

Joining the INBA was one of my best life decisions. I met some of the best broadcast journalists while I was still a college student. Plus, I ended up getting a job through the connections I made!

Jeff Bossert

When I was working in radio for the first time, I had no idea whether I could truly handle the demands. But INBA made me curious and want to improve. Even now, when I’ve maybe worked a lot of hours or planned some stories that didn’t come together for one reason or another, what I learn from an INBA conference gets me re-invigorated about the business.

Aaron Eades

As a student, it's often difficult to picture what working in the real world will be like. For me, the INBA bridged that gap by giving me the chance to talk to professionals who used to be in the same shoes I'm in now.

Bob Roberts

INBA is as much about friendship and as it is about achieving common goals. It provides two things individual newsrooms cannot: in-service training, and the ability to speak out on issues affecting the profession. But most of all, it brings newspeople together.

Brian O'Keefe

One of the greatest benefits for me has been getting to see and know other parts of the state. I’m not from Illinois and traveling to spring and fall conventions over the years has transformed dots on a map to memories of places that enhance my story telling process.

Ryan Denham

“I recently attended my first INBA conference—and it won’t be my last. The combination of professional and student journalists learning together is electric. Everyone learns from each other and walks away with new friends (and LinkedIn connections). I know I did.”

Michelle Eccles McLaughlin

INBA is an organization that really caters to continuing education for professionals. It offers a relatively inexpensive way to learn new things, reinforce best practices and network.

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