Farewell to 2021: New leadership ahead

Farewell+to+2021%3A+New+leadership+ahead

By Diana Anghel, Editor-in-Chief

I joined The Daily Illini my first semester of freshman year. Externally, I was surrounded by thousands of people that I had never seen before, buildings that looked far too intimidating to step into, award-winning professors that I had only read about and a social scene that had endless paths to navigate. Internally, I was curious and determined to start knowing, experiencing and talking.

Soon enough, I started picking up stories and running around campus from intimidating building to intimidating building with my news reporter notebook and audio recorder. I talked to campus experts, international students, student activists, lead COVID-19 researchers, politicians, county board members, bus drivers, police officers and even a magician. I found a reason to start talking. Not just this, but I was given a platform to share the information that I found. I felt like I had found my calling. 

Fast forward two years, and I was given the opportunity to lead the DI as Editor-in-Chief. I was ecstatic, proud and needless to say determined to help other student journalists find their calling. At the same time, The Daily Illini was feeling pressure to change its print and production schedule to better fit new financial needs and a technology-first mindset. 

Nonetheless, we were able to take these pressures and turn them into new storytelling ways. We created a newsletter for Illini sports fans; we published Humans of CU, a publication of in-depth profiles reaching sources we hadn’t previously known; we brought back Campus Scout, a satire column that has its roots embedded in DI history; we published the Salary Guide in an online-exclusive format with a focus on graphic and web design; we created Perspectives, a way for our audience to submit personal anecdotes for publication. 

None of this would have been possible without the editorial staff. Through a turbulent year full of change, they continued to persevere and create content. Thank you to the entire DI staff. I could not have done it without your continued support, advice and hard work. 

Thank you to the Illini Media staff, who relentlessly supports student journalism. Many are oblivious to the effort and passion it takes to continue a student-led, nonprofit publication. You are the backbone of our ability to do what we do.

Thank you to all DI alumni who keep up with our work and strive for continued relationships. We appreciate your donations, feedback and visits immensely.

Thank you to my family and friends for keeping me grounded at some of my lowest and highest points throughout the past months.

Finally, thank you to you, the readers. You are our calling. I hope our goals aligned with yours, and we served you in the right ways. 

In my first column as EIC, I wrote, “While it feels like a huge mountain is facing me, I’m both determined and excited to start climbing it.” Now, I’m looking over my shoulder to the same mountain and looking ahead to steeper ones, having gained more knowledge and being equipped with more tools. This was a chapter I will never forget. 

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