UIUC Students Approve Fee To Help Daily Illini
University of Illinois students will be paying to help support the student newspaper and its related media outlets.
Students voting in elections on the Urbana campus this week approved a $3-per semester fee to help support Illini Media, the non-profit company that owns the student-run Daily Illini, WPGU Radio and the Illio Yearbook.
Illini Media has been raising donations from alumni and supporters so it can pay money it owes on its mortgage and printing bills. Publisher Lillian Levant said the new student fee should prevent such debts in the future, and she said they will be able to keep providing practical media experience for U of I students.
"Our students are so passionate, those that work at Illini Media," Levant said. "Whether it be at the Daily Illini, or WPGU or the Illio yearbook. They're just so passionate, and for them to have the kind of resources now that they deserve is just an incredible opportunity for us."
Levant estimates that the new fee will cover 10-percent to 12-percent of Illini Media's annual budget. Meanwhile, she says they've raised more than $30,000 so far in donations to catch up on bills that include a quarter-million dollars for printing, in addition to mortgage payments on their building in Champaign's Campustown.
Levant said the donations are coming from "mostly alums, but also people from the community."
She added that "even people who are not students at UIUC; people that just generally live in Champaign-Urbana and have been reading the D-I forever, for instance, have reached out to us and contributed."
The fundraising campaign was launched last month, with an online message from movie critic and former Daily Illini editor Roger Ebert. Levant says she thinks future revenue from the new student fee should help them avoid future funding gaps.