If The Michigan Daily weren't such a good newspaper, I would not have gone to college at the University of Michigan. As an eighteen-year-old hungry for the life of a writer, I literally discarded prospective colleges if their primary campus publication were not as good as, or merely equal to, the high school newsmagazine I edited (which, to be fair, was pretty damn good). Kalamazoo College, Notre Dame: they didn't have a chance.
But The Michigan Daily stood out. On a campus with no journalism program, the newspaper has been run by students since 1890. It was the first in the world to print news of the polio vaccine in 1955. It broke the news about football star Tom Harmon missing in South America. In 1957, the paper sent a student to Little Rock to go undercover in Central High School: he borrowed the ID of an absent student so he could report the integration story from the inside -- the only journalist in the nation to do so. Daily alumni include Tom Hayden, Arthur Miller, Rich Eisen, Mike Wallace; more recently, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait, Nieman's Ann-Marie Lipinski, and the New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters, my former editor.