• Lil Levant

There’s a new normal in print journalism and college papers are not immune to it. I’ve just had a conversation with Lil Levant, publisher of the Daily Illini and general manager of Illini Media Company, the not-for-profit that controls the student-run newspaper and radio station (and other properties) at the University of Illinois.

The company’s in a lot of trouble. A month ago it owed the News-Gazette Inc., which prints the Daily Illini, about $250,000. It was an old, intractable debt, and because of declining ad revenues and a big mortgage on the new four-story headquarters that Illini Media built in the mid-2000s, when it was a lot flusher, it was a debt that threatened to shut down the 141-year-old student paper and put the company out of business.