In its inaugural event, DNewsmaker, sponsored by the Daily Nebraskan, became the third largest city in Nebraska.
With an attendance of over 95,000, the event—featuring a Q&A with Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst–surpassed the record previously set by Memorial Stadium.
The event offered free popcorn, soda and Subway sandwiches, none of which were touched.
“I originally came here for a free lunch,” Erin Sardize, a junior advertising major said. “But as soon as I came into the Crib, I realized what a resource was in front of me. I became entranced by the opportunity for knowledge, and to eat only seemed rude to the idea of education.”
Sardize, as well as a sizeable portion of the audience, attempted to pay Eichorst for his time with the staff, citing a sense of stealing.
“He gave us so much,” Alvin Hermsmeyer, senior economics major said. “I took all of my cash afterward and stuck under the windshield wipers of his [Eichorst’s] car.”
The event, with its tremendous success, has had a larger effect on UNL. Following the conclusion of the Q&A, admission offices throughout campus have been overrun by students looking to change their majors to journalism. Though preliminary, the dean of the journalism college Maria Marron spoke about a need to renovate Andersen hall in an effort to increase space.
The event also grabbed the attention of local billionaire Warren Buffett. Though he didn’t speak directly with journalists, Berkshire Hathaway stock has seen a sizeable bump in investors amid rumors of Buffett’s interest in the Daily Nebraskan.
After fielding questions, Eichorst seemed apprehensive about the impact of future DNewsmakers events on student life.
“I’ll admit that it was cool the crowd did the wave for the entirety of the session,” he said. “But it’s already looking like Nebraska is no longer a football school. I’m excited that the University has taken such an academic focus, but here’s hoping the boosters still come out strong behind DNewsmakers.”
At press time, the Daily Nebraskan remains economically unsustainable despite the success of the event.