What Daily Iowan editors are thankful for this Thanksgiving

During a tumultuous year of 2020, which began with covering the caucuses and soon gave way to a coronavirus pandemic and near daily protests for racial justice, here’s how Daily Iowan staffers spent their Thanksgivings, and what they’re thankful for this year.


By AJ Boulund

DI Staff

The year 2020 has been a challenging one for eastern Iowa and University of Iowa students, faculty, staff, and alumni. In February, The Daily Iowan staff covered the quadrennial caucuses, criss-crossing the state to chase presidential hopefuls. A reporting error extended the counting process for weeks, almost until Iowa’s first coronavirus cases were confirmed in the Hawkeye State. Our reporters covered the constant ups and downs of university plans, preparations, and an evolving campus life. Over the summer, near daily racial justice protests called for a reckoning in all sectors of our systems. It’s been a long year for student journalists, and people of any profession. This Thanksgiving, Daily Iowan editors found sparks of hope in the traditional holiday and shared what they’re thankful for this holiday season.

Executive Editor Sarah Watson

I spent Thanksgiving wrestling with crown moulding as my significant other remodels a house. My parents and I set up Thanksgiving dinner in the garage with the door open in their DeWitt, Iowa, home. A space heater warmed the place as we gobbled up turkey sandwiches just feet from where a felled tree nearly took out our house during the August derecho. I’m thankful that my family and I could spend time together, albeit outdoors, and for their continued health and luck despite a number of close misses. I’m especially grateful for The Daily Iowan staff’s continued dedication to telling important information and stories of those around us.

Project/Depth Editor Brooklyn Draisey

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents, and we made enough food for 10 people with just the three of us reaping the benefits. I’m thankful for my parents and technology, since it’s the one thing keeping me connected to everyone else in my life!

Politics Editor and Rotating Managing Editor Caleb McCullough

I spent Thanksgiving with my parents (who I’m staying with all week after getting a negative test) and I’m thankful for the continued health of my family.

Politics Editor and Rotating Managing Editor Julia Shanahan

I spent my Thanksgiving with my parents and siblings at my home in Naperville. My mom made the traditional Thanksgiving spread and we dropped off packages of food to both my grandparents and their friends while they’re isolating in their homes. It was definitely a bummer that we couldn’t get together with our other family, but I’m glad we were fortunate enough to be able to make dinner for our grandparents who make food for us every year.

Some of my break was also spent catching up on the coursework I fell behind on in the weeks leading up to the election, but like every other good-intended college student who brought their homework home with them, I definitely could have spent more time studying.

I am thankful for all of the amazing opportunities The Daily Iowan has given me to advance my career in political reporting, and I am so grateful for DI coaches and their invaluable mentorship — and of course, I am incredibly grateful for all of the amazing DI student reporters who push me to be better every day. It’s not easy to operate a newsroom remotely, and we are all so thankful for our dedicated team of student journalists who make our daily coverage happen. I am also thankful for our Executive Editor Sarah Watson’s compassionate leadership and tireless friendship through this bumpy and uncertain time.

I am thankful that my friends and family are healthy, and that I was able to safely travel home and spend the week with my family, even if Thanksgiving looked a little different this year.

Managing Digital Editor Kelsey Harrell

I spent Thanksgiving with my parents, brother, and boyfriend. Instead of turkey, my dad decided to smoke ribs. I don’t like turkey so I’d be fine with ribs every year. With how crazy this year has been I’m thankful my family and friends have stayed healthy, and I hope that continues. I’m also thankful we’ve been able to keep publishing at the DI and for the digital team!

Pregame Editor Robert Read

For a pregame editor, sports continue even when classes are on break. He spent his Thanksgiving break covering the Hawkeyes, and asked to include several comedic comments from Hawkeye players and coaches.

Arts Editor Maddie Lotenschtein

I spent my Thanksgiving by making pies and playing cards against humanity with my family, in which I did not (sadly) win a single game. What I’m thankful for? My family and their good health, and for their willingness to watch Pirates of the Caribbean with me.

A heartwarming pie made by Arts Editor Maddie Lotenschtein for Thanksgiving.

News Editor Rachel Schilke

I would say I’m thankful for the year of growth I’ve had, my family’s health, and the ability to work with a talented group of reporters and editors every day.

Sports Editor Austin Hansen

I spent Thanksgiving break at home with my family in Illinois, and I am thankful for my great friends and family, and our superstar sports staff. I’m also thankful for the return of sports and the opportunities The Daily Iowan has given me.

Asst. Sports Editor Isaac Goffin

I spent my Thanksgiving by celebrating it a day early with my family back in Illinois, and then I came back to Iowa City on Thanksgiving to cover the football game against Nebraska on Friday. One thing I’m thankful for this year is the health and safety of my family.