Senior Column | The DI has given me more than I could have imagined

I wouldn’t have made the same friends, had the same opportunities, or learned as much as I did if I didn’t work at The Daily Iowan.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Photo by Ayrton Breckenridge

Ryan Hansen, Managing Digital Editor

My time at The Daily Iowan has been far too brief, filled with countless memories, plenty of new friends, and a whole lot of learning.

When I first joined the DI as a junior, I truly felt I had become a part of a community. This has been a place where I have made countless friends, including my then-peers Kate Perez and Marandah Mangra-Dutcher and my current peers in leadership roles, like Sabine Martin, Hannah Pinski, and Jami Martin-Trainor — just to name a few.

They have taught me so much about journalism through their passion for important, impactful news and strong storytelling. Through their kindness and sweet nature, they have also taught me about what friends are. To me, the people of the DI are what makes it so special.

Their unmatched work ethic, strong journalistic skills, and incredible personalities make me so proud to call them my friends, and I can’t wait to see where they go in their professional lives. They are the most important reason why I will always look back on my time as a student journalist fondly.

The DI also offers young journalists so many opportunities not only to learn but also to explore. Our coaches have taught me so much about leadership and writing in my time as a student journalist, and as I leave them, I feel incredibly prepared to take on any story and any challenge that comes my way in the professional world.

The opportunities extend beyond learning too. I was also incredibly fortunate to travel to our nation’s capital this year and attend the American Collegiate Press awards where the DI received more than a dozen awards across news, sports, and design, among others.

It was an incredible couple of days that also allowed me and Sabine to explore D.C. It was my first time flying and my first time truly traveling, and it provided me with five days of experiences I will never forget, from our dinners together to the scooter rides around town to stuffing awards show hardware into our bags.

The DI also allowed me the flexibility to take on any project I wanted. When I wanted to dip my toes in the water and explore Iowa City’s local government as a news reporter, my editors didn’t bat an eye. Instead, they helped me figure out whether I enjoyed doing it or not — and I did.

I must also shout out a few of the people who got me here: My parents, Gene and Trish, and my girlfriend, Mia Alton. Their support, love, and care got me through college and urged me out into the professional world. Without Mia, I don’t know who or where I would be in life. She has been my guiding compass, and for that, I am forever grateful for her.

And after more than two years of begging me to write a story about her, she has finally made an appearance in the DI.

I’m fortunate that during my time, we were also able to cover important moments that will go down forever in the University of Iowa’s history. While the women’s basketball team’s incredible run and all the hard work that went into that coverage obviously tops the list, I will also continue to look back on coverage like Cooper Worth’s timely piece that highlighted the emergence of artificial intelligence programs like ChatGPT.

In my eyes, the DI is a one-of-a-kind place for young journalists to learn and grow, and while I am incredibly sad to leave it behind, I know it’s in great hands.