Its 4:30 p.m. Ten people are jammed into the small cubicle in The Daily Iowans newsroom shared by Editor Cori Zarek and Managing Editor Megan Manfull. The conversation is subdued but intense, barely audible to rows of reporters working on their iMacs right outside the door.
"I think I want the Martin Luther King for page 1," Zarek says. "And the judge, and the rainforest. And maybe the MBA. Theres the article about the increase in OWI arrests, but the chief is saying thats because theyve hired new police. If we cant say its a real increase, I dont see it."
To this visitor, who has attended hundreds of daily newspaper story conferences, it sounds exactly the same as the prosthough perhaps a touch more serious. And thats the point, DI editors will tell you.
"The DI feels like more than just a campus newspaper," Zarek says. "Were the only student-run paper in the country that is delivered door to door, not only to on-campus students but to community subscribers as well. We have good competition from the Iowa
City Press-Citizen, the Iowa City Gazette, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and we work hard to get stories they dont get, to do new takes on stories they do get, or to find what they overlook. Were not limited to writing just for students."
The DI depends on a staff of 85, almost all studentsfirst-year students to doctoral candidates. They staff metro, arts and entertainment, viewpoints, and sports sections; theyre graphic designers, photographers, reporters, web designers, copy editors. They work in advertising and circulation. They put the DI on its web site: www.dailyiowan.com. And they put in as many hours at the DI as they do on their studiesthough some urge me not to put that in a Parent Times article.
Some students win full tuition scholarships to work on the DI, while others have half-tuition scholarships. All editorial staffers are paid minimum wage.
"I expect everyone to realize that this is a job, not an extracurricular activity," Zarek says. "We expect the very best effort, and we train them to do the very best they can."
Winning the University Pulitzer
In return for the dedication, DI reporters and editors regularly earn collegiate journalisms top awards.
The DIs professional attitude helped it earn the 2000 Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press, a division of the National Scholastic Press Association. The award names the DI as one of the top six four-year college newspapers in the country for the 1999-2000 academic year. Student editors traveled to Washington, D.C., in November to receive the award. Working journalists served as judges. Winners were selected on their coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art, and graphics.
The editor of the 1999-2000 Daily Iowan was Laura Heinauer of Ankeny, Iowa, who graduated in December after spending the fall semester at the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism. After working as an intern at the Washington, D.C., bureau of The Wall Street Journal, she is now on the papers staff.
In addition, Brett Roseman, a senior from Davenport, Iowa, won third place in the 2000 Picture of the Year competition for a photo of a Hawkeye wrestling match last season. Roseman, currently in his second year as the DI photo editor, has won other national awards as well.
Megan Manfull, a senior from Washington, Iowa, won an honorable mention in the Sports Story of the Year contest for a profile of UI mens basketball coach Steve Alford. Manfull recently was named one of the Scripps-Howard Five Most Valuable Collegiate Newspaper Staffers in the United States, which carries a $5,000 scholarship, a trip to New York City to accept the award, and a $5,000 grant to the DI. She became managing editor this year following a year as sports editor and two years as a sports writer.
Time Management Is Vital<