WILL Pressroom

The 21st partners with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism

Niala Boodhoo in WILL studio

Niala Boodhoo, host and executive producer of The 21st


Just weeks away from The 21st’s one-year anniversary, the hour-long, daily talk show continues to expand its reach throughout Illinois.

The 21st—a production of Illinois Public Media airing on four public media stations across the state—is excited to announce a partnership with Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Beginning in May, Host and Executive Producer Niala Boodhoo will be hosting live broadcasts of The 21st from Medill’s downtown newsroom.

“Niala is part of our Medill family and we’re thrilled to have her back with us in our new, state-of-the-art downtown newsroom,” said Beth Bennett, assistant dean for Journalism at Medill. 

The 21st logo

As Executive Editor Scott Cameron points out, since the beginning, the goal of The 21st has been to collaborate with a variety of partners from across Illinois. “We have tried to maintain a startup mentality with the show, so having a studio location in Chicago for the summer is a great way for us to experiment with different approaches to reach new audiences and expand our statewide footprint,” continued Cameron.

Not only is this partnership a great opportunity to bring the show into Chicago, as an alumna, Boodhoo is also eager to be back at the Graduate School working with their student journalists. “We have had the good fortune in the show’s first year to have access to some incredibly talented student journalists through the University of Illinois. I love the idea of being able to build on that by doing the show from another place where graduate students are learning the craft of journalism,” said Boodhoo.

“This partnership brings the broadcast and production of The 21st right into our learning space, making it a dynamic setting for our students as they work side-by-side with a distinguished journalist and alum,” added Bennett.

During the summer months, Boodhoo will also be in Chicago to receive treatment for breast cancer, a diagnosis she received just a few months ago after her first-ever mammogram. “Early detection, almost certainly, saved my life. I’m so thankful to my doctors, nurses and medical team.”

Boodhoo remains focused on The 21st. “Like many other Americans, especially women with breast cancer, I plan to continue to work through my treatment,” she said. “I am so thankful to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends, as well as incredible co-workers, who have been so supportive.”

The 21st team is enthusiastic for the upcoming months and what is to come in the second year of the show. “As always, my main professional focus has always been and remains on The 21st and working with my team of producers and interns to create the very best daily, statewide talk show we can for our Illinois audience,” said Boodhoo.

The 21st is 21st-century radio for the 21st state, conferring on news, culture, and stories that matter to Illinois weekdays at 11 a.m. The hour-long, daily talk show is a production of Illinois Public Media, airing on WILL-AM 580 as well as three other public media stations across Illinois: WGLT in Bloomington-Normal, WUIS in Springfield, WCBU in Peoria.