Reiland:  Sit-down redux


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Mark your calendar: The Daily Iowan will sit down with University of Iowa President Sally Mason on Jan. 26, 2015, following a nearly seven-month hiatus of one-on-one interviews.

Following a one-on-one meeting with Mason, the DI is now able to continue a long tradition of interviewing university presidents, from Mary Sue Coleman to David Skorton and Willard “Sandy” Boyd — just to name a few.

After I was told by UI officials Tom Moore and Joe Brennan that the DI would no longer be able to sit down with Mason one-on-one, and instead all news organizations would be invited to a media availability, I decided to address my concerns with the state Board of Regents, the Iowa City and UI community, as well as Mason herself in a column published in the DI on Dec. 10. I highlighted the importance of these sit-down interviews for both my experience as a reporter and editor, as well as for the university and Iowa City community.

And with the help of several former DI editors, I was able to convey the importance of having a productive and sound relationship with the university administration.

My experiences interviewing Mason as a Metro reporter were both pleasant and cordial, and I consider it one of the many important experiences I’ve had while working at the DI.

I was quite overwhelmed by the number of people who extended their support regarding my concerns addressed in the column, and those who shared their thoughts — both positive and negative. People always say the Daily Iowan staff — current and former — is a family, and that has never rung more true than it has over the last few days.

But most of all, I appreciate Mason reaching out to me and requesting to meet one-on-one on Monday to directly address my concerns with how the DI and her office communicate.

Mason addressed many of the points in my column, including the lack of one-on-one access and the way the changes to the Q&As were delivered. She noted it was not her intention to limit the amount of access the DI had and was open to reinstating the Q&As.

The DI will sit down with Mason once every four weeks for a conversation about current events and topics of interest to the campus and city. We will continue publishing a verbatim Q&A and accompanying story, and we will also include Daily Iowan TV coverage and possible photo opportunities. Mason said she will also continue her media availabilities with local news organizations every six weeks or so.

It was always about keeping the tradition alive and continuing what many former DI staffers have been able to do long before I came to campus in 2011.

And fortunately, once I graduate in May, I can leave knowing the DI will be able to continue developing a strong relationship with the university administration.

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