Letter From the Editor: The Daily Iowan to continue publishing after spring break during COVID-19 in-person class suspension

The UI community needs information on COVID-19 while in-person classes are canceled. The DI plans to continue covering the news in print and online.


Michael Guhin

The Daily Iowan newsroom is seen on Feb. 26, 2019.

Marissa Payne, Editor-in-Chief

The University of Iowa community is preparing for two weeks of online course instruction from March 23 through at least April 3 after spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the UI’s independent student-run news organization, The Daily Iowan considered what the university’s decision would mean for our staff and content production.

College news organizations across the U.S. are largely moving their content production online while their universities have suspended in-person course instruction. After considering what is best for our staff and our community, the DI has decided for the time being to continue publishing a daily newspaper and TV broadcast after spring break. This plan is subject to change depending on the UI’s decisions about how to proceed for the remainder of the spring semester. Regardless of those decisions, we will continue to publish important news online throughout the semester.

The public needs access to credible information amid mass confusion and uncertainty about the spread of COVID-19. Students are scared, administrators have indicated plans could change at any time, and government and public-health officials are urging extreme measures of caution to maintain health and safety. There’s a great deal we don’t know about COVID-19, but through DI content, we plan to continue informing the community about what this means for Hawkeyes.

While much of our audience is online, we understand the print medium remains a go-to news source in the community as well. We want the greater community to have access to that medium, especially for those whose access to internet is limited. The DI staff views ourselves as journalists who happen to be students, and while other local outlets continue to print, we believe the community should have access to our content on newsstands as well.

With that said, the DI is urging our staff to prioritize health and safety as we continue to cover news. Following UI guidance, we have urged our staff to make the best decisions for their own health and safety. It will be optional for staffers to come into our newsroom to work throughout this break from instruction, and accommodations will be made for those working at home or remotely. We have also urged the staff to stay at home if they feel sick.

We encourage the community to submit questions they have about the local impact of novel coronavirus’ spread through an online survey at dailyiowan.com. We want to hear from you about which stories you want told and what concerns you have about what COVID-19 means for the community.

The UI story will remain a critical one to tell as this pandemic affects the world, and no news organization is better equipped to share that story than the UI student-run DI. We will put health and safety first as we continue to work, but we want to remain a reliable news source for all issues pertaining to the COVID-19 spread and beyond for our community.

Please reach out to DI editor Marissa Payne at [email protected] with questions. Share your thoughts and story ideas on the spread of COVID-19 here. Follow our coverage.