The editor of the DE, Leah Stover, published a very fine op-ed on the events of the last semester in Wednesday's paper: You Can't Save Face by Censoring Others.
I've been all too willing to criticize the DE over the years--student reporters do get things wrong, and do sometimes write poorly. Experto crede: I was a student reporter for one year--my freshman one--at a tiny college where anyone who showed up became a reporter, with no faculty oversight. What I did, for the most part, was get things wrong and write poorly. Not to mention my sins of commission and omission as a blogger.
But one can't help but be impressed by the fine work the DE did this semester. When the administration was reporting business as usual on campus, the DE reporters were going to the picket lines, to student marches, and to classrooms, and reporting the truth. DE reporters consistently made a valiant effort to understand the complicated process of negotiations (a process complicated in large part, of course, by the very different stories they were getting from the two sides). Take this article by Sarah Schneider, with a headline that nailed the public debate: Unions Say Strike Not About Money, Cheng Begs to Differ. Tara Kulash's summary article just the other day on Chancellor Cheng's reign thus far, Her First 556 Days, was a very impressive piece of work. These aren't pro-union hack jobs--far from it. They are carefully crafted, balanced articles by student journalists of great promise.
Above all, the DE's principled stand against the administration's attempt to control information flow shows tremendous courage and integrity. It can't be easy for student journalists to criticize the SIUC administration in this outspoken a manner. If that sort of courage and integrity were more widespread on campus, we'd all be far better off.
At any rate, as I reflect on the events of this past semester, one bright spot will certainly be the positive role played by SIUC students. Those working for the DE have given us all something to be proud of.