Opinion | The Daily Iowan cultivates award-winning student journalism worth supporting

On One Day for Iowa, consider donating to The Daily Iowan to keep our student-run and nationally-recognized journalism going strong.


Ayrton Breckenridge

The Daily Iowan’s 2023-24 executive editor, Sabine Martin, poses for a portrait on Monday, March 6, 2022.

Sabine Martin, Managing Editor

In a hotel ballroom in Washington D.C. last October, a representative from the Associated Collegiate Press announced “The Daily Iowan” as an award recipient. The DI’s name was repeated again and again as one of my colleagues and I approached the stage and picked up armfuls of Pacemaker awards and individual plaques.

The DI won three Pacemakers recognizing excellence in newspaper, website production, and multiplatform journalism, which is comparable to a Pulitzer Prize for college journalism. These accomplishments aren’t new for the student journalists at the DI, who have a long history of creating award-winning journalism. 

I started working at the DI as an eager news reporter in my first semester of freshman year. I have zero regrets after all of the experiences, opportunities, and relationships I have gained. Three years and multiple editor roles later, I am excited and honored to soon lead the DI newsroom as the executive editor for the 2023-24 academic year. 

The DI has, without a doubt, been the most formative journalism experience of my budding career. I’ve covered nationally-recognized trials, traveled to Washington D.C., and most recently had the chance to interview renowned New York Times journalist and “The Daily” podcast host Michael Barbaro.

Unlike most student-run newspapers, the DI competes with newspapers around Iowa for awards with full-time working journalists. The DI’s student journalists are constantly producing award-winning work while balancing packed academic and personal schedules.

DI Photojournalist Grace Smith won photographer of the year in Iowa’s newspaper class and Executive Editor Hannah Pinski won the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Award for Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists at the Iowa Newspaper Association awards ceremony this spring. I was awarded the Iowa Newspaper Foundation Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting Award.         

 The DI prepares student journalists for the professional world and has created a robust alumni base that current DI journalists look up to. 

DI alumni are located in many large metropolitan areas and in major state newsrooms including The Washington Post, Associated Press, Politico, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, New York Times, USA Today, and many more. 

The DI prepares all student journalists for their professional careers no matter what industry they enter.  

Our alumni are still helping us produce amazing content. DI students, alumni, and coaches directed, filmed, and edited the film “Chasing Greatness: Wrestling Life,” a documentary that took under two years to produce. The film, produced by staff from the Daily Iowan Documentary Workshop, was released earlier this month in partnership with the Big Ten Network, airing directly after the Big Ten Wrestling Championships and profiling the Iowa men’s wrestling program.

Our team of award-winning sports reporters and photojournalists have worked tirelessly throughout the season to profile Iowa athletics. Most recently, covering the Iowa women’s basketball team’s historic run to the Final Four from on-site in Minnesota, Seattle — and soon  Dallas — to bring readers live coverage, thorough analysis, unique profiles, and stunning photography.

All of this coverage would not be possible without the support of our readers.

Today is One Day for Iowa, a 24-hour donation drive that asks you to donate to institutions at the UI that matter to you. I hope that the DI is on your list. Please consider supporting student and local journalism through a generous donation and help the DI continue to give student journalists valuable opportunities.