The Daily Illini
|Owner(s)||Illini Media Company|
512 E. Green St., |
Champaign, Illinois 61820
The Daily Illini, commonly known as the DI, is a student-run newspaper that has been published for the community of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1871. Weekday circulation during fall and spring semesters is 20,000; copies are distributed free at more than 250 locations throughout Champaign-Urbana.
The paper is published by Illini Media Company, a not-for-profit corporation which also prints other U of I publications, and also and operates WPGU 107.1 FM, a student-run commercial radio station. While the IMC has no official ties to the university, university professors and others in the academic community serve on its board of directors. The newspaper's staff has both full-time professionals and amateur students.
The paper is printed as a broadsheet, but downsizes during the summer months as a tabloid.
The editorial, business and production departments are staffed by students who are enrolled in a wide variety of degree programs, not just journalism. Several full-time professionals, including the newspaper's publisher and the advertising and circulation managers, are employees of IMC. Some students are paid for their jobs in reporting, editing, production and advertising, but some of the students work for free, as well.
The Daily Illini staff completely changes once per year, known as "turnover" in the DI offices. "Turnover" means the current group of editors (editor-in-chief, news editors, sports editors, opinions editors and features editors, among others) finish their tenure at the DI in their current editing position, and a new group of editors fills these positions. The new editor-in-chief is chosen by some members of the IMC, and then the editor-in-chief chooses all of the other editors that will work under him/her.
At the beginning of each fall and spring semester, the DI hires new reporters and staff members. All University of Illinois students, regardless of major, are encouraged to apply.
The DI regularly receives awards such as the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold and Silver Crowns and the Associated College Press Pacemaker Award.
In February 2010, The Daily Illini was awarded the General Excellence award by the Illinois Collegiate Press Association. Their Web site, www.dailyillini.com has been named the best college newspaper Web site in the state for the past four years.
The newspaper's offices are currently located on Green Street in Champaign. In May 2006, the newspaper, along with the other IMC entities, moved east to a new building closer to campus on Green Street in Champaign. In doing so, the company consolidated the offices of WPGU, which had been in a separate location, with the offices of the rest of the IMC entities.
Prominent staff emeriti
Notable alumni of the newspaper include novelist Nelson Algren, ABC News political director Hal Bruno, Rape of Nanking author Iris Chang, Simpsons producer/writer Larry Doyle, film critic Roger Ebert, novelist Dave Eggers, folk singer Dan Fogelberg, High Times editor Steven Hager, Playboy founder/CEO Hugh Hefner, attorney Albert E. Jenner, Jr., columnist Robert Novak, Coast to Coast Live radio host Ian Punnett, advice columnist Dan Savage, film critic Gene Shalit, and several Pulitzer Prize winners.
In January 2003, The Daily Illini printed a letter in its opinion section titled "Jews Manipulate America" A large amount of criticism followed soon after, calling into question the paper's editorial policy. The editors responded by defending their right to publish it. Critics noted that the publishing of this letter was not surprising to them after The Daily Illini's history of publishing other articles that appeared to be anti-Semitic. Previous letters published in The Daily Illini have accused Israel of being guilty of genocide and another compared the Jews to Nazis. Moreover, while The Daily Illini apologized when it published a photo thought to be demeaning to black students, it refused to apologize for publishing a letter claiming that Jews manipulate America.
In December 2003, the paper published an article by Miriam Sobh called "Stop Turning a Blind Eye" that contained a quote attributed to Ariel Sharon that was fabricated. (See Alleged Ouze Merham interview of Ariel Sharon.) The author later gave a full apology for using the fabricated quote. Despite the controversy that occurred from printing the falsely attributed quote the first time, The Daily Illini printed it a second time on November 19, 2004, in another article.
The DI also published an anti-semitic comic strip on November 5, 2004, strip of I Hate Pam. The paper acknowledged in a later editorial that the strip mocked Jews. The comic was suspended for approximately four weeks.
The newspaper's former editor-in-chief Acton Gorton and opinions editor Chuck Prochaska made a controversial decision in February 2006 to print the cartoons from the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy that had previously been printed in Europe and had led to protests around the world and a few instances of violent rioting by offended Muslims. Gorton's column that accompanied the cartoons was cited to support the first view. Prochaska and Gorton were also criticized by fellow editors in a later editorial for not following protocol in previously discussing their printing, though it was revealed later that some of the staff did know about it in the hours prior to printing. A firestorm of letters and calls from all over the country and the world came into The Daily Illini expressing both support and outrage. Gorton and Prochaska were suspended with pay for two weeks to investigate whether proper procedures were followed. As of March 14, 2006, Gorton was terminated from The Daily Illini. Prochaska was offered the opportunity to return to his position but refused.
The Daily Illini editorials were halted on September 22, 2006, after the September 20, 2006 editorial on the Midnight Madness basketball event was found to contain misinformation and misinterpretation. The paper resumed publishing editorials on October 9, 2006 with an editorial explaining the changes to the way editorials will be researched and published. However, even with the new guidelines, on November 29, 2006, the newspaper printed an editorial calling Representative Charles B. Rangel a Republican when describing his draft bill. Rangel is a Democrat.
Salary Guide publication
On March 9, 2010 The Daily Illini published a guide to salaries on the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois. The information was received through an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request. The online database got the most number of hits on the site since they started tracking online traffic.
2012 Financial Crisis
In February 2012, The Daily Illini enlisted the help of UIUC alumnus and film critic Roger Ebert to raise funds for the newspaper. The Daily Illini owed nearly $250,000 loan on their building. The 12 page broadsheet, which is very costly, played a part in the struggling company. As the paper is funded and published by the Illini Media Company, it receives money from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign via mandatory student fees. These fees were approved by the University Board of Trustees.
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