A farewell from the editor-in-chief


By Lillian Barkley, Editor-in-Chief

Diversity was my main focus for this past year — increasing our diversity in our opinions, our staff and our coverage as a whole. Reflecting on the year, I don’t think I accomplished my goal.

I am a person who is committed to integrity. I stand by my word and follow through on promises. That’s why my lack of dedication to the goal I promised hurts.

Editing was my first job here, and it’s what I’ve done most. I had to edit my plans, even though it meant cutting my focus.

At the end of May, the News-Gazette’s printing press shut down. It meant The Daily Illini also needed to conform to new deadlines. As students, everyone here spends our weeks balancing work and school. The schedule change tipped the scale.

The first job of an editor-in-chief is to keep the paper running. Whether that means creating an untested workflow or keeping a staff of different personalities from imploding, day-to-day issues take priority.

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I’m also a fan of tradition. I love print journalism even as it struggles to keep up with the digital age.

I was faced with a clash between trying to stand by what I had been taught to do and what I knew editors before me had done versus adapting to a constantly changing industry.

Often, the same issues with news publications that make national news — ideological bubbles, revenue loss and job cuts — trickle down, even to college publications.

In a year with a notably relentless news cycle, when disagreement means “fake news,” the stakes and expectations are high for every journalist.

So, thank you to our readers who pick up a paper every day or who let us know when we’ve written something you like.

Like every editor-in-chief I’ve worked with, I will end my tenure on 5 p.m. Friday. Abigail Paeth will take over as editor-in-chief, and I look forward to what she and her staff will accomplish.

We’ll keep writing, and we’ll keep listening.

I hope you’ll keep reading.

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