From the Newsroom: Reflecting on The Daily’s coverage of Evanston


Daily file photo by Zoe Malin

Downtown Evanston. The Daily is the only daily newspaper in Evanston and serves as the city’s paper of record.

Kristina Karisch, Print Managing Editor

In this series, Daily staff members hope to provide more transparency about how we operate. If you would like to submit a question to be answered here, please send an email to [email protected].

The Daily’s tagline is “Northwestern And Evanston’s Only Daily News Source Since 1881.”

The “Northwestern” and “daily” part of it is fairly self-explanatory: We’re the student newspaper on campus, and we publish five days a week. But The Daily is also the only daily newspaper in Evanston, and we thus serve as the city’s paper of record.

Our coverage extends beyond Northwestern’s campus and into the city, where we cover everything from City Council meetings to elections, business openings, school boards and anything in between. We speak to aldermen, residents and activists across Evanston, and contextualize state and national politics as they affect us locally.

Our investigative pieces have looked into rising living costs, gun violence in Evanston, the push for a school in the 5th Ward and other issues across the city. Our city desk has covered wrongful arrests, the annual budget process, the Harley Clarke Mansion, affordable housing, library equity and more. Every winter, we rank the best restaurants and shops in Evanston, and last fall, we started Evanston Organizes, a series that profiles activist groups and individuals in the city.

This coverage is both an immense privilege and responsibility, which we do not take lightly. We know that we’re a paper run by college students who parachute into a community for, most often, only four years, and then move on to careers and lives in different communities across the country and world. It would be easy for us to spend our years in Evanston in the Northwestern bubble, focused on our campus, and fail to engage with the community around us.

But that would be a disservice to the work that countless residents, city officials and activists in Evanston do on a daily basis to make their community a better and more inclusive place. In covering city news, we want to bring these stories to the forefront and help everyone in Evanston — whether it be a lifelong resident or NU first-year — be a more informed member of their community. And we want our reporters and editors to hold themselves accountable to telling these stories in an accurate, inclusive manner.

In recognizing the city’s diversity across race, gender, class and religion, we must do more to adequately take into account all marginalized voices. Evanston communities are passionate and engaged and our reporting needs to reflect that energy.

At the same time, we recognize that we are college students, tasked with reporting on difficult issues. We’re typically only here for a limited amount of time, we’re operating on different hours to most city officials, who have 9-5 jobs, and we’re all learning by doing.

Covering a city — especially one as involved and vibrant as Evanston — is challenging. Our coverage has real-world ramifications, and it has the power to damage reputations just as much as it can enact positive change. It provides our reporters and editors with experiences they can use in Evanston and beyond, and when we’re doing our jobs right, our coverage shows Evanston residents an accurate picture of the city they live in.

We know our city coverage is not perfect; no coverage by a news organization can ever be faultless. But the reporters and editors who have run our city desk in the past and will lead it in the future are some of the most dedicated and committed writers at The Daily. We’ve gone to countless meetings and forums, pored over thousands of pages of documents and cultivated relationships with sources across the city.

We’re constantly working on improving our coverage — by reaching out to communities that are historically undercovered and following up on past reporting, among other things — all in the hope of showing our readers just how involved and committed this city is.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @kristinakarisch