The Daily to rename newsroom following donation

Stephanie Kelly , Managing Editor

As part of an ongoing campaign to fundraise for The Daily Northwestern, NU trustee John Madigan and his wife Holly Madigan, an NU alumna, have given a donation to the newspaper that includes a $250,000 challenge grant, Students Publishing Co., Inc. announced Thursday. As a result of the gift, the paper will rename its newsroom after the Madigans.

The Madigans’ gift will contribute to “The Campaign for the Future of The Daily Northwestern,” a five-year effort organized by SPC, the newspaper’s publisher. The campaign has now expanded its original $1 million goal to $2 million after the donation.

The SPC campaign has three primary objectives: ensuring technology is available for staff use, funding student stipends so no students are prevented from working at The Daily and securing a stable financial footing for the paper.

“It’s quite an endorsement when someone like Holly and John Madigan say that this cause is that worthy,” said Jeremy Mullman (Medill ’00), the campaign’s spokesperson and an SPC board member. “The need is there. It’s still a tough environment for independent college campus newspapers as it is for newspapers of all forms.”

Started in 2014, the campaign has so far raised $1.25 million in gifts and commitments from more than 100 donors, including the Madigans, Mullman said.

John Madigan is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of The Tribune Company. He previously held positions with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Commercial Club of Chicago. Holly Madigan (Education ’62) is a director and former chairwoman of NU’s Family Institute and is a trustee of the Ravinia Festival. She also is a member of the NU Women’s Board.

“(The Daily) is a vital building block in journalism careers,” John Madigan said. “Working for a college newspaper is an incredibly important training ground for going into newspapers or other phases of journalism or communications or public relations.”

The challenge grant, which will match future donations dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000, will incentivize others to give as well, Mullman said.

The Madigan gift was donated to The Daily through NU’s fundraising campaign, “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern,” Mullman said. Although the donation was given through the We Will campaign, the money is not coming from the University, he said.

“First and foremost, the board is extremely committed to the independence of The Daily, and we would never put the paper in any situation we felt compromised its editorial integrity or independence in the slightest,” he said. “That’s the starting point for everything.”

The University has been supportive of The Daily’s fundraising campaign, board member Ed Bryant (Medill ’63, School of Law ’67) said. Bryant, who has been on the board since 1972, has himself included a $200,000 bequest commitment to the campaign.

Medill senior Sophia Bollag, The Daily’s editor in chief, said she is grateful for the Madigans’ and Bryant’s donations.

The donations will allow, through student stipends, all staff members to participate fully in The Daily, regardless of their financial situation, Bollag said. Additionally, The Daily will be able to acquire high quality photography and design equipment so staffers will not need to purchase such equipment themselves, she said.

“I’m so glad that so many donors are supporting us in what I think is a very important mission not only for informing the community but also in training the next generation of journalists,” she said.

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Twitter: @StephanieKellyM