On the night the biggest campus news of the decade was about to break, Vincent Lee was the Daily Illini editor in charge, forced to make the kind of deadline decision that sparks or sinks journalism careers.
“I still remember that long night in 2007 when we started hearing the University of Illinois is about to announce that Chief Illiniwek was going to be retired," says Lee, now the China breaking news editor for Reuters of Beijing.
"Half the staff was gone for a journalism conference, but everyone scrambled and eventually pushed out a sources-based story and beat the big boys to the punch.
"It remains the only time when I had to make a call on whether to green-light a story based on comments from anonymous source — but that was also one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made at all because I knew everyone in the newsroom and I knew what they had was solid.
“I made many mistakes during my time at the paper that I’d like to take back or get a do-over on. But I would not trade that time in my life with anything else I could have done during my time in Urbana-Champaign. I will always be grateful to the paper and everyone who worked to keep the place running.”