Smile Politely


Smile Politely is Champaign-Urbana’s culture magazine. Established in 2007 as a community contributor-driven publication, Smile Politely has evolved to include a full editorial staff and an Editorial Board, publishing more than 40,000 articles in Arts, Culture, Food and Drink, Music, and Opinion. We publish engaging editorial content each weekday, providing our community with passionate, trustworthy, and informed points of view on a variety of topics that are locally-focused. Our writers and community contributors draw from their varied experiences to speak to what’s happening in C-U. 

We believe C-U to be one of the best places to live, and our content reflects that. C-U is not without its faults, however, and we address these topics in a way we hope initiates dialogue toward making change. Our Editorial Board publishes an article each week, tackling everything from school resource officers and policing to the best burgers in the area. 

At Smile Politely, we uphold progressive values of inclusivity and anti-racism. We want to center the voices and stories of people and communities in C-U that have been excluded. As we move through our second decade of publishing, we will continue to strive for more diversity among our writers, editors, and Editorial Board. 

Follow us across our social media pages to provide commentary where you see fit. You can find the pages at the header and footer of this site.

Interested in getting Smile Politely delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our weekly newsletter, a run down of the last week and a preview of the next. We promise we won’t inundate you with emails.


Smile Politely Media, Inc.


Alyssa Buckley
Food + Drink Editor

Amy Penne
Arts Editor

Derrick Philips
Music Editor

Jessica Hammie
Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board Member

Julie McClure
Editorial Board Member

Louise Knight-Gibson
Culture Editor and Editorial Board Member

Mara Thacker
Editorial Board Member

Patrick Singer
Executive Editor and Editorial Board Member

Seth Fein
Founder and Publisher


Christopher Maier
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and Founder

Justine Bursoni

Mason Kessinger 
Designer and Founder