Maddy Chemers is a journalism major with a minor in communication and concentrations in psychology and sociology. When she’s not working on shows at Richmond Studio, you can find her at the Daily Illini newsroom working on more videos (big surprise)! Chemers is the video editor for the DI and also works as a media intern for WPGU, the student-run alternative radio show. Chemers has spent time both on-camera and producing for Good Morning Illini and this semester she will be focusing on reporting news for UI7Live. Chemers is also looking forward to helping produce, report and anchor a new show called A & M in the A.M.
Maddy Chemers is also a mother to her chihuahua-greyhound-rat terrier named Donkey. See if you can spot him in any of her stories!
A&M in the A.M.
Good Morning Illini
Solo show #1: October 8, 2021
My first solo show is done and definitely one for the books! While I was stressed during the week, I think the show came together very nicely and I am really proud to present this episode of “Good Morning Illini” as my first solo show.
Because this show fell on the Friday before the Homecoming game against Wisconsin we were able to cover the basics about homecoming and beyond. I enjoyed including a segment about gameday weather and hearing from alumni who came in for the game too.
October 3 was the kickoff of National Fire Prevention week so I knew it was imperative that we talk to firefighters. We were able to talk to Campus Educator and retired Fire Captain Dave Wisher in a live interview about the most important ways college students can stay safe regarding fires on campus. It was very cool that our reporters learned how to put out fires with an extinguisher and were able to share that information with other students on campus.
One of my favorite stories we covered in this show was about Brookfield Zoo giving vaccines to their mammals. Recently promoted President of Clinical Medicine with the Chicago Zoological Society Michael Adkesson explained his role in administering vaccines and sent in a couple of photos to go along with our story. This allowed for the anchors to chat about the individual animals on screen and led into our animal-based block in a very humorous yet informative way.
Because campus is absolutely crawling with critters, we covered a few animals stories for this show as well that I think were truly wholesome. While some of our stories about the various dog parties on campus did not make it into the show, we did hear from a student on campus that interns at a dog training facility called “Pupcakes”. The courtyard weather also included a cameo of my dog, Donkey, so I am thrilled that he has officially become part of the GMI family live on air!
As far as production goes, this show had some twists and turns along the way but I knew it was chock-full of content when I was reluctant to float stories the morning of and while we went live. The ending of the show was much more rushed than I anticipated so timing of content is going to be my focus for the next one. Ultimately, I am glad I had some missteps this time around because it only means I can use those mistakes to make the next show that much better. I am eager to get my next solo show down and to continue working with my fabulous Good Morning Illini crew.
Solo show #2: October 22, 2021
The October 22 show was definitely something. I had a lot of expectations for this show, but they did not all execute the way I envisioned. One thing that I did like for the show was the content I had planned.
One of the larger segments of the show revolved around golf. I was able to get an interview with Nick Hardy, a University of Illinois alumnus that is currently playing in the PGA tour. Following this mini package were stories about the disc golf club on campus, a class in which students build a mini golf course out of “found objects” and a golf course that is opening in the spring, but the pro shop happened to be opening that Friday.
While I think the golf played out really well, my coffee segments did not. I had a couple of stories about new coffee drinks and spots on campus, and during the show when I thought we were short I added a package from UI7Live about another coffee bar. However, I was most excited for our weather to include someone brewing coffee live on the show. This did not work as I had originally planned because minutes before we went live, the misting rain had become too much and we had to move our weather shot from the courtyard to inside the studio. In this process we ripped a cord only to have another HDMI cord come undone during the show, resulting in havoc within the studio as chaos ensued from the control room.
My biggest problem with this show is how little control I felt I had over fixing things that had gone south. I had done something mysterious on Inception, our system for rundowns, scripts and timing so I consistently thought we were nearly four minutes short, up until we ran three minutes over. In the first half of the show I was racing around trying to rearrange and add and lengthen segments in order to stretch time. By the second half of the show, I was running into the studio to try to switch cameras and convey directions to on-air myself.
This show does not accurately reflect the work I put into it, or the stress our crew endured during the process of shooting it. I am hoping for much better things for my final solo show and the rest of the shows that I produce with my co-producer, Amanda. It may not show on the screen as clearly, but the October 22 show had the potential to be so great, especially based on content, and it just fell flat.
Solo show #3: November 5, 2021
My final solo show of the semester was my favorite of all my solo shows. The content was filled with things that I not only care strongly about, but things on and around campus that I think should be shared with the rest of campus!
We started with a follow-up on the Marching Illini Dad football halftime show from Dad’s weekend. This event is an Illini tradition and so much fun to watch, so I am thrilled we were able to include it and capture those family moments on camera.
The show then launched into a health and wellness section, spotlighting a new podcast on campus put together by students working at our campus health center. I then wanted to cover some examples of outdoorsy sports to get exercise which led me to a personal reporting favorite: skateboarding. I love covering skateboarding stories because I think they are so sick and almost comical to watch and fun to put myself in the story as well.
We then covered another one of my passions, sustainability, through multiple stories from various angles. We taught campus how to compost their pumpkins, we learned about the new solar farms to get UIUC to carbon neutrality by 2050 and I visited the dairy research farm on campus and got up close and personal with some cute cows.
In addition to the main themes, there were many important stories included as well such as a brief story about children being able to get covid vaccines as well as a story about Day of the Dead that passed earlier that week on Monday. We also had a live interview with Good Morning Illini alumna Shelbi Voss about her career at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois.
I am very pleased with how the show came together. During the week, I felt that I was coming up with many of the stories and going out to do interviews and cut VOSOTs together myself, but nearing the end of the week everything started to come together. Originally, I was nervous I would be light but we ended up floating two stories during the show. On Friday morning, I was seen smiling and enjoying myself during rehearsals and while watching my peers work together to problem-solve. I felt it was a show that pushed the crew (and myself) to grow, which made it all the more satisfying when the broadcast went off with very few issues.