From the Director

Issue: 

David Ryfe
David Ryfe, Ph.D., DEO,
School of Journalism & Mass Communication

I sometimes tell the story of attending my first Iowa Newspaper Association annual awards program several years ago. In my new role as director, it was my responsibility and pleasure to represent the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at this event. As I left the building, I was told that The Daily Iowan (DI) might win a few awards that evening.

I later found myself astounded as the DI won not a few, but dozens of awards, including top prize for best newspaper in its class. “This wasn’t for a student newspaper category?” I asked someone nearby. “No,” I was assured, “the DI competes against local dailies from across the state every year.”

It was then I realized that the DI isn’t just a student newspaper, it is a local newspaper. We’ve been lucky enough to have it for the past 150 years (see p. 14).

Studies show that citizens who live in communities with thriving local newspapers enjoy many benefits. They are more knowledgeable and more likely to participate in civic life. They have stronger social ties to one another and are even likely to live longer! Communities also experience less official corruption and greater economic growth.

Of course, it is no longer news to note that recent decades have not been kind to newspapers. Small, local news outlets have been somewhat sheltered from these trends. Still, these news organizations have not been wholly immune, either.

This is true of the DI. Under publisher Jason Brummond and his predecessor Bill Casey, a generation of staffers has worked to help the newspaper navigate the changing terrain.

I know that reading the newspaper every day makes me more knowledgeable about the university and city. It also makes me feel more connected to my colleagues and fellow citizens.

So, I congratulate the DI on its special milestone. If reading the newspaper also helps me live longer, maybe I will be around for its next 150th anniversary!

With best wishes,

David Ryfe, Ph.D. DEO
School of Journalism & Mass Communication