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About Us

Smile Politely is Champaign-Urbana's culture magazine. We call it a magazine, even though it is all online, because it functions as such: publishing engaging editorial daily. We provide our community with passionate, trustworthy, and informed points of view on a variety of topics that are locally-focused: arts, culture, food and drink, music, politics, and more. Our writers are a stable of community contributors that range widely in age and background due to the transient Champaign-Urbana population — from college undergrads to fifty-somethings, the magazine is comprised of engaged community members with an impressive array of experiences to draw from.

Smile Politely enters its 13th year of publishing in 2020, and certainly, we’ve developed a particular aesthetic and personality over time. We have our biases, sure, but our strongest bias is that we believe Champaign-Urbana to be one of the best places to live in the United States.

Our founding principle is this: Smile Politely exists as a platform for you, the reader, to engage with and shape, if you’re interested in that. We welcome contributions, and want you to be involved.

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 very site.

Interested in getting SP delivered to your inbox each week? Sign up for our free digest, running down what happened in the magazine this week, and what's to come.

Publisher

Smile Politely Media, Inc.

Editors + Publishers

Alyssa Buckley
Food + Drink Editor

Debra Domal
Arts Editor

Jessica Hammie
Managing Editor and Editorial Board Member

Julie McClure
Managing Editor, Culture Editor, and Editorial Board Member

Nicole Anderson-Cobb
Staff Writer and Editorial Board Member

Patrick Singer
Executive Editor and Editorial Board Member

 

Co-Founders

Christopher Maier 
Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and Founder

Justine Bursoni
Founder and Publisher

Mason Kessinger 
Designer and Founder

Seth Fein
Founder, Publisher, and Editorial Board Member

Active Writers

Andrew Pritchard
Annie Jones
Anusha Bansal
Apolonia Weilgus
Brian Dolinar
Chantal Vaca
Claire Katz-Mariani
Cope Cumpston
Drake Maxon
Dylan Gray
Elaine Sine
Eric Frahm
Erin Ewoldt
Ethan Walter
Gavin Good
Gillian Dabrowski
Indyia Robinson
Jaclyn Jones
Jarrod Finn
Jason Witt
Jesus Barajas
Joe Ingolia
John Kotnarowski
Jordan Goebig
Judy Lee
Julia Hartman
Kanea Hughes
Kat Bondareva
Kate Aldridge
KT Burke
Katriena Knights
Kelley Wegeng
Kwame Thomas
Maddison Dorsy
Mathew Green
Matthew Macomber
Mayank Boob
Melinda Edwards
Melinda Sevilla
Rachael McMillan
Rebecca Wells
Remington Rock
Rick D. Williams
Rithika Patnam
Sal Nudo
Smile Politely Editors
Smile Politely Writers

Stephanie Wheatley
Tom Ackerman
Tyler Allen
Virgil Ward
Zoe Valentine

Editor Emeriti

Ben Valocchi

Boswell Hutson

Caleb Curtiss

Cody Caudill

Dan Schreiber

Doug Hoepker

Joel Gillespie

Jason Brown

Jeremiah Stanley

John Steinbacher

Josh King

Julia McAnly

Kate Fenton

Lindsay Gates-Markel

Maddie Rehayem

Marissa Monson

Mark Sieckman

Mathew Green

Nicole Lanphier

Rebecah Pulsifer 

Rebecca Knaur

Robert Hirschfeld

Ryan Neaveill

Sam Logan

Sean O'Connor

Susanna Kline

Steven Pratten

Tim Adamson

Tracy Nectoux

Inactive Writers

Aaliyah Gibson
A.B. Koontz
Aaron Burch
Abram Book
Adam Barnett
Adam Fein
Adam Scott
AJ Taylor
Alan Pocaro
Alexx Engles
Alex Swanson
Alif Laila Tisha
Alisa DeMarco
Alisa Greene
Allison McKay
Alyssa Schoeneman
Amanda Murphyao
Amanda Shively
Amanda Wicks
Amelia Bowen
Amirah Ar-Raheem
Amy Lingafelter
Athanasia Giannetos
Andrea Johnston
Andres Muñoz
Andrew Ang
Andrew Dunham
Andrew Voris
Angela Delgado
Anisa McClinton
Anna Barnes
Anna Waller
Annalisa Rodriguez
Annie Weisner
Anthony Collebrusco
Ashley Hetrick
Ashley Huddson
Austin Hill
Azra Halilovic
Belden Fields
Ben Chapman
Ben Holbrook
Beth Dillman
Beth Dillman and Scott Weber
Betsi Freeman
Bob Finch
Bob Steltman
Bob Yoon
Bobbie Bonebrake
Brandon Beachum
Brenda Koenig
Brendan Denison
Brian Duggan
Brian Kagel
Brian McGovern
Brian Reed
Brian Mertz
Brian Sullivan
Bridget Curren
Brigid Young
Brit Johnson
Brittany Busboom
Brittany Patch
Brock Peoples
Cameron Raab
Caitlin Cremer
Carly Doenges
Carly Gubbins
Carlye Wisel
Carmen Shaffer
Carolyn Muller
Carly Prais
Casey Skorski
Cassia Smith
Cassidy Williams
C.G. Estabrook
C.E. Brown
Charity Curtiss
Cheryl Barnett
Chike Coleman
Chris D. Davies
Christopher Evans
Chris Rost
Christopher Tepedino
Chris Willis
Chuck Koplinski
Claire Melvin
Clint Popetz
Cody Bralts
Collin A. Bullock
Community Comment
Coy Wentworth
Cristy Scoggins
Crystall Pratt
Cynthia Hoyle
Dan Hill
Dan Kelly
Dane Torbeck
Daniel Wolff
David Cubberly
David Joncich
David Kierski
David Wright
Dennis Roberts
Derian Silva
Dianna Black
Don Gerard
Donald Mabbott
Donnie Ferguson
Drew Adams
Dusten Jenkins
Dusty Lawless
Dylan Heath
Edward Moses
Edwin Cho
Elaine Olson
Ellyn Newell
Elyse Russo
Emilio Jasso
Emily Cross
Emily Miller
Emily Otnes
Emily Siner
emma reaux
Eric Blair
Eric Bussell
Eric Heisig
Eric Stoff
Erik Allgood
Erin Gillman
Erin Hayes
Ernie Blackwelder & Cynthia Voelkl
Farah Chalisa
Gabe Mitchell
Gale Walden
Gibson Wirth
gillian gabriel
Gordon Oyer
Grace R. Kenney
Grant Benda
Grant Deam
Heather Dillon
I. I.
Indira Midha
isaac arms
Jack Tatterson
Jaclyn Smith
Jade Tyson
Jake Lahne
Jake Thomas
Jamal Collier
James Kilgore
James Manrique
James Scherer
James Treichler
Jamilah Alsharif
Jamie Newell
Janjay Knowlden & Nic Morse
Jared Collins
Jason Berg
Jason Brechin
Jay Rosenstein
Jean Forst
Jean Lee
Jeff Kohmstedt
Jeff Nelson
Jeff Zolitor
Jen Redwood
Jenna Weglarz-Ward
Jennifer Knapp
Jessica Wolff
Jesse Woodrum
Jessica Lewis Watson
Jillian Klean-Zwilling
Jimena Oliver de la Cruz
Jimin Shim
Jim Singer
Jingrui Lu
JoAnne Cammarata
Joe Krehbiel
Joe Petry
John E. Marlin
John Flanagan
John Johnson
John Milas
John Menchaca
Johnny Lusardi
Jon Stone
Jonah Koslofsky
Joni Jeffries
Jordan Kreie
Joshi Fullop
Joshua George
Joy McClaugherty
Julianne Heuel
Justin Hemenway
Justin McLeod
Kate Ross
Kathy Decker
Katie Charmas
Katie Travers
Katie Powers
Katie Prosise
Katie Simpson
Katrina Halfaker
Kaya Tate
Kelly Hearne
Kelly Innes
Kelly James Shirley
Kesley McGrath
Kim Nguyen
Kimberly Leifker
Kirby Jayes
Kristiana Burtness
Kristin D'Antonio
Kristin McCann
Kyle Patterson
Laren Pike
Larry Larson
Latifah Al-Hazza
Laura Adamczyk
Laura Allured
Laura Allured and Ray Mitchell
Laura Bandy
Laura Czys
Laura Stein
Lauren Laws
Lena Hann
Lena Singer
Lilly Bralts-Kelly
Lily Katz
Linda Remaker
Lindsay Ignatowski
Lindy Wheatley
Lisa Bralts-Kelly
Lisa Janes
Liz Benoit & Jeremiah Stanley
Liz Faermark
Liz Jackson
Liz Stanley
Logan Burgett
Logan Green
Logan Moore
MacKenzie Archibald
Mace Mackiewicz
Madeline Knight-Dixon
Madeleine Marsh
Maggie Labno
Mara Bandy
Marika Christofides
Mark Laughlin
Mark Spomer
Marsha Reardon
Matt Fender
Matthew Campbell
Matthew DeMarco
Matthew Gladney
Matthis Helmick
Maureen Sanderson
Megan Flowers
Megan Laz
Meghan McCoy
Meghan Whalen
Mica Swyers
Michael Curtin
Michael Feltes
Michelle Wright
Mike Coulter
Mike Ingram
Monique Archer
mrfred
Nathaniel Forsythe
Neal Rauhauser
Neil Parthun
Nick Goodell
Nidhi Shastri
Nina Samii-Frye
Nika Lucks
Nishat Ahmed
Noah Roberts
North 1st St Farmers Market
Olivia Maloney
P. Gregory Springer
Pamela Saunders
Pat Brown
Pat Schmitz
Patrick Filbin
Patrick McCarthy
Paul Barrel
Paul Dudley and Bonnie Dudley
Paul Higgins
Paul Young
Phyllis Dey
Prudhvila Mulakala
Rachael Dietkus-Miller
Rachael McMillan
Rachel Buller
Rachel Wooley
Rashmi Tenneti
Ray Mitchell
Rebecca Johnson
Rhiannon Peery
Ricardo Pierre-Louis
Richard Anderson
Rob McColley
Rob Schaffer
Robert Hirschfeld and Joel Gillespie
Robert Hirschfeld and Matt Campbell
Robert Knilands
Robert McGrath
Rohn Koester
Rose Keane
Rose Marshack
Ross Floyd
Ryan Brokamp
Ryan Graves
Ryan A. Ross
Safiya Noble
Samantha Bakall
Samantha Lee
Samara Cole
Samuel R. Vandegrift
Sara Canary
Sara Kats
Sarah Boland-Taylor
Sarah Boyer
Sarah Langer
Sarah Lubelski
Sarah Keim
Scott Frankel
Scott Humphrey
Scott Wells
Sean Purvines
Seth Valentine
Sheri Williamson
Siara Flanagan
Sidney Sheehan
Stacey Peters
Stephanie Maurer
Stephen Kemp
Stephanie Svarz
Stories & Beer
Stuart Tarr
Suhail Barot
Suzanne Lewandowski
Suzanne Trupin, M.D.
T. McDade
Tara McCauley
Tara McGovern
Taylor Polydore
Teen Awareness Group
The Exilers
The Market Watcher
The Parasolorians
Theo Long
Therese Pokorney
Thom Herakovich
Thom Schnarre
Thomas Cyrs
Thomas Gould
Thomas Nelshoppen
Tim Brookes
Tim Green
Tim Hayden
Tim Schreiber
Todd Spinner
Tom Chandler
Tom Pauly
Tommy Griscom
Tony Cherolis
Tony Pomonis
Tricia Scully
Troy Brundidge
Tyler Courtney
Tyler Durgan
UIUC GEO
Valera Chekmazov
Vern Fein
Veronica Mullen
Vicki Hoskins
Vincent Pham
Wendy Edwards
Westley Banks
Will Fernandez
Will Pearson
William Gillespie
William Gillespie and C.D. Scoggins
Will Hubbs
Yuritzi Garcia
Zack Adcock
Zack Grant