Education

University of Iowa's student paper, The Daily Iowan, turns 150

More than 300 alumni, current staff reuniting this weekend

Jason Brummond became publisher of The Daily Iowan in March 2017, succeeding Bill Casey, who led the student-run publication for 41 years. Alumni, students and friends will be celebrating the student-run newspaper’s 150th anniversary this weekend. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Jason Brummond became publisher of The Daily Iowan in March 2017, succeeding Bill Casey, who led the student-run publication for 41 years. Alumni, students and friends will be celebrating the student-run newspaper’s 150th anniversary this weekend. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s independent daily student newspaper, The Daily Iowan, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this weekend.

The Daily Iowan, the first UI publication, was founded in 1868 — just after the Civil War and before Colorado was a state.

Some 310 former and current Daily Iowan staffers, students and guests are expected to attend the reunion, Publisher Jason Brummond said.

Brummond, a former Daily Iowan reporter and its editor in-chief in 2007-08, took over as publisher in May 2017, succeeding longtime publisher Bill Casey, who retired.

Casey will be among the weekend’s speakers, Brummond said.

The oldest alum planning to attend is retired ad executive Bill Munsell from the Class of 1949.

“He was on the advertising side as a student,” Brummond said. “The whole advertising office used to be student-run back in those days.”

The paper was initially owned by its student editors until a student-faculty board formed The Daily Iowan publishing company in 1916.

The paper is independent of the University of Iowa and is distributed free on campus. It now has permanent staffers in the business and advertising departments.

Brummond said the newsroom has changed over the years.

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“It’s just very different now,” he said. “The way those same reporting and editing jobs are done has changed drastically.”

The paper added its online platform in 1995. In 2005, its offices moved into the new Adler Journalism Building and added a daily television news component.

This past year, the newsroom was renovated “to open it up and make it a bigger space,” Brummond said.

Cori Zarek is one of the alums who volunteered to help organize the reunion, which, she said, would not be possible without the help of the paper’s permanent staff.

Zarek said she’s excited to hear what a traditional day at the newspaper is like now.

“All of us come with our own very dated experience,” she said. “In my day, we had to mock up a print paper and drive it up to Cedar Rapids” for printing.

Zarek was the paper’s editor-in-chief in 2000-01, years when the paper received a National Pacemaker Award, the highest national honor for student journalism. The paper also won the award in 2006, 2008 and 2013.

“The Daily Iowan has always been an incredible team,” Zarek said. “When you win national awards, it’s because of building a strong staff that can put out a strong newspaper.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8514; molly.hunter@thegazette.com

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