On double duty: Student begins TV anchor job while preparing to graduate
It is a hectic time to say the least for Roosevelt University journalism major Giacomo Luca, who is finishing class projects and preparing for finals while serving as a weekend anchorman for WLIO-TV in Lima, Ohio.
Every week since mid-February, Luca, 21, a native of Cincinnati, has juggled his last semester of studies at Roosevelt with his new job doing planning, producing and anchoring for four newscasts that run on Saturday and Sunday nights on WLIO.
"Once I figured out that TV was what I wanted to do, it’s been full steam ahead,” said Luca, who spends at least four hours one way, or eight hours each week, commuting between Chicago and Lima, a city of about 40,000 in west central Ohio. “It’s a bit overwhelming for me to not only be graduating but also to be achieving my career dream,” he said.
The Roosevelt student, who completed an independent study as well as two internships since 2011 at TV stations in Jacksonville, Fla., Cincinnati and Chicago, got the job at WLIO-TV, which reaches up to 150,000 viewers nightly, after a news director reviewed his resume and video reel tapes and phoned Luca for an interview.
“I remember telling him ‘I’m not under contract, but I’m still in school,’” said Luca, who was initially disappointed when the news director told him that it wouldn’t work out because the station needed someone right away.
Soon after, however, Luca recalls the news director changed his mind and invited the Roosevelt student in for an interview. “He told me, ‘I wouldn’t want school to work against you” and so I went in and interviewed and got the job,” said Luca, whose position at WLIO-TV will turn into a full-time gig once he graduates on May 2.
At Roosevelt, Luca has worked for the Torch student newspaper. He also was a resident assistant at the University’s Wabash Building, a part-time manager for the University’s men’s basketball team and a multi-media reporter who wrote his own blog and produced his own video segments in which he followed the Roosevelt Lakers women’s basketball team as finalists during last year’s championship games in Sioux City, Iowa.
“Roosevelt doesn’t offer a broadcast major, but Giacomo didn’t let that stop him,” said Charles Madigan, writer in residence at Roosevelt and one of Luca’s mentors. “The transition for him into TV was more or less natural and we’re all very proud of his being able to break into the business,” Madigan said.
While at Roosevelt, Luca most recently was an intern for the WGN-TV Morning News in Chicago where he obtained valuable pointers.
“Giacomo has a passion for broadcast journalism that, in my experience, most interns don’t have,” said WGN-TV Morning News Anchor Larry Potash, who mentored the Roosevelt student during his fall 2013 internship. “Because of his knowledge of technology, and his work ethic, I gave him the freedom to coordinate segments and stories. He gained valuable experience in writing and producing, that many interns miss,” Potash said.
Luca will begin working full-time right after graduation at WLIO-TV in Lima as an anchor, producer and multi-media news reporter.
With that kind of experience, and his entire career in front of him, Marian Azzaro, chair of the Department of Communication at Roosevelt, believes the sky’s the limit on what Luca could do with his career.
“He’s a real dynamo,” she said. “He knew what he wanted to do and worked hard to line up internships and do the work that would help him achieve his goal of getting into TV. Time will tell where he goes from here.”