little illini reporter

We ask our reporters who cover Illini athletics to remain unbiased in their approach.

But we’ll cut Renee Anderson some slack.

“She wants the Illini to win — that’s all that matters,” Renee’s mom, Lynn, said. “You might want to change your rule.”

A third-grader at Montessori School of Champaign-Urbana, Renee will serve as The News-Gazette’s Junior Reporter at Saturday’s season-opening football game between the Illini and Nebraska. She certainly has the necessary background, having accompanied Mom and Dad to Illini football and basketball games “and tailgating since she was a baby,” Mike Anderson said.

Our popular Junior Reporter program was KO’d by the pandemic in 2020. This season, however, we’ll staff each of the Illini’s seven home games with up-and-coming journalists.

Renee enjoys swimming, piano, singing Disney songs, math, skateboarding, climbing trees and reading.

“She’s 8,” Lynn said. “She likes everything.”

On Saturday, she’ll receive a tour of the stadium, watch the game and write of her experience. Her report will publish in Tuesday’s News-Gazette.

It might not be the last Anderson byline to appear in these pages.

“The whole family is excited,” Lynn said. “Our other two daughters (6-year-old Nicole and 3-year-old Emily) have already told us they want to be Junior Reporters, too.”