WICS, the local ABC-affiliated TV news station in Springfield, Illinois, is housed in a red brick building with a satellite dish on top and a large radio tower in the back. It has sat in the same spot on East Cook Street since 1964. To Amanda Henderson, walking into that building for her first day as a reporter felt like stepping on hallowed grounds. It was a feeling she’d had before. In fact, nothing about her new job was entirely unfamiliar.

Henderson arrived at the University of Missouri in 2013. She grew up San Antonio, Texas and always planned to go out of state for college. Still, it wasn’t easy leaving her home behind.

Picture of journalist Amanda Henderson

Mizzou alumna, Amanda Henderson, was prepared for her first day as a multimedia journalist in Springfield, Illinois thanks to the Missouri Method.

“Texans like to joke that there’s an electric fence around the state,” Henderson said. “Leaving the state is taboo.”

She chose Mizzou for the journalism school, specifically the broadcast program. In her classes, Henderson learned about the “Missouri Method,” a way of teaching through experience rather than just instruction.

Her classroom was the newsroom, working as a reporter for KOMU, Columbia’s NBC-affiliated news station. By the time she graduated, Henderson had spent countless hours doing all the same things a professional broadcast journalist would.

“The Missouri Method is great because it shows students what they’ll face in their careers,” Henderson said. “When I graduated, I had all the skills I needed to land my first reporting job. Mizzou got me to where I am today.”

Henderson has been a multimedia reporter for WICS in Springfield for more than a year. She has yet to encounter a challenge or obstacle she did not already face at Mizzou.

“Walking into WICS on my first day, I felt 100 percent prepared,” Henderson said. “I knew what to do if something went wrong. I knew how much time I would need to fix it. Mizzou gave me all the experience I needed.”