D. W. Stevick. The people of Champaign County appreciate the ability and the achievements of D. W. Stevick, chiefly through the medium of his newspaper, The Champaign Daily News. Progress has always been the keynote of Mr. Stevicks life. He has been inspired with “that delightful discontent which the hope of better things inspires,” and this has given meaning and potency to his efforts as a newspaper man.
When he came into possession of The Champaign Daily News, he was well aware of the deplorable conditions existing relative to the strongly entrenched liquor forces, and had a thorough understanding of the stupendous task he was undertaking in combating them. He faced the issues squarely, and with an invincible spirit of confidence and hope undertook to lay bare tlie existing facts to the public, feeling they had a right to know.
As is always true in such matters, the bitterest opposition arose from the friends and supporters of the traffic. Ridicule, sarcasm and misrepresentation were all brought to bear upon the gallant young editor. Like a true soldier he met successfully every attempt of the enemy to discomfort him. With the heartiest support of the best class of the people in Champaign County, he demonstrated that when a people unitedly determined to stamp out existing evils they are bound to win. Mr. Stevick has raised the standard of civic righteousness and morality in the county of Champaign, and it can be said to the credit of the people that he has found an army of the best men and women in the county as loyal supporters. The state of Illinois can be congratulated in possessing such men as Mr. Stevick. Though a young man, Mr. Stevick has made an enviable record for himself. He has accomplished more in the brief years of his editorial experience than many men have accomplished in a lifetime. That he was successful is shown by the fact that he was but twenty-eight years of age when he acquired the ownership of The News, and was then one of the youngest publishers of a large newspaper in this country.
It has been said of our forefathers that in laying the foundation of this great republic they planted their bulwarks as they went the church and the free school and they built better than they knew. Of Mr. Stevick’s accomplishment in a brief time, it can also be said that in this enterprise he has accomplished more than his most sanguine expectations led him to expect.
For this reason a brief history of his life will be interesting. He first saw the light of day February 7, 1887, in Hutchinson, Kansas, a son of William Henry and Jennie (Getter) Stevick. His parents were born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and soon after their marriage removed to Kansas, where the father engaged in the real estate business. They had four children, including three daughters. Farie Dell, the oldest of the daughters, is the wife of Prof. O. R. Skinner of Bloomington, Illinois. She was a graduate of the Conservatory of Music of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is now instructor with her husband in the O. R. Skinner School at Bloomington. The second daughter, Marie Ella, is teacher of art in the Skinner School at Bloomington. She is a very talented artist, and her work has received high praise by the discriminating art critics of Chicago and other art centers. The third daughter, Isabel, is vocal instructor in the Skinner School, and the wife of Harry K. Roush of Bloomington.
When thirteen years of age D. W. Stevick began making his own living. For two years he drove a delivery wagon and then found work as office boy and collector at the Daily Bulletin in Bloomington, Illinois. He was with that journal thirteen years, going to the top of the ladder of that newspaper. For years he was in full charge of the advertising, studying that phase of the business with such attention ‘that he soon became an authority on the subject. The past and the present proves him to be a thoroughly ground newspaper man.
August 29, 1910, Mr. Stevick married Miss Helen M. Taylor, daughter of Wilson E. and Mary (Miller) Taylor. Her father is a native of Ohio and her mother of Indiana. They were the parents of three sons and one daughter: Roy, Gail, Joseph and Helen. The Taylor family for many years has lived in Texas. Mrs. Stevick went to Bloomington from Texas to attend the O. R. Skinner School, where she graduated in music. Mr. and Mrs. Stevick have one daughter, Marajen, a bright young lady of five years. Mr. and Mrs. Stevick are active members of the Christian Church. Politically he favors the principles of the Republican Party, but is broad in his views and gives his support to the man who serves the public best. Fraternally he is a Knight of Pythias.
As a newspaper manager his work is entitled to great credit and undoubtedly a great future is in store for him. He has established an atmosphere of cooperative sociability in The Champaign Daily News, so that all subscribers feel they belong to one large family working for the good of the general public. The visitor observing the perfect order and system of The Daily News plant, and understanding its growth and development and its influence as a molder of public opinion, is reminded of the words:
“0 what a glory doth this world put on For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth Under the bright and glorious sky And looks on duties well performed, and days well spent.”
On the first day of September, 1915, E. R. Mickelberry and D. W. Stevick purchased The Champaign Daily News from E. B. Chapin. It was at that time Champaign’s largest and best newspaper, but the development that was to come for The News could only be seen in advance by Mr. Stevick. The fifteen minute telephone news service from Springfield was increased fifteen minutes, a new linotype machine, many fonts of new type and other equipment were added and the old machinery of The News thoroughly overhauled. Still more news was given to the people, later news, better news, and the already large circulation increased remarkably. Soon another linotype was purchased and the thirty minute wire service was changed to a longer service. The new owners could see no reason why the people of Champaign-Urbana and vicinity were not entitled to just as good a newspaper as other Illinois towns had been favored with for years; therefore the full leased wire of the International News Service was taken on, giving to the people of Champaign-Urbana and vicinity for the first time in history the world’s news on the day it happened. Previous to this time almost all of the foreign news read by the people of this district was set up in Chicago and shipped to Champaign by express. In December, 1915, Mr. Stevick purchased his partner’s interest and became sole owner of The News.
The News needed more room and the beautiful business lot located at 134-36-38 West Church Street was purchased and plans completed for a five-story building with a modern newspaper plant on the ground floor and a hotel above. Business changes, however, compelled The News to be moved earlier than it was possible to construct its new home, and the large four-story Miller building was purchased and there completed one of the most modern newspaper plants in the entire West. Another lintoype machine and a mammoth 32-page Goss press outfit were installed. New type throughout gave the appearance of The News a very noticeable brightness. The News continued to flourish, in its new home. It was the constant aim of the publisher to improve the News, and on August 19, 1917, a new publication was added The Champaign Sunday News. This Sunday newspaper was not a small country paper, but was built on metropolitan ideas, having all the local news with the full leased wire report of the Associated Press, the best four-page colored comic section that American artists produced, features for women, continued stories, a page for the farmer and his family, a full-page sport page edited by one of the best sport writers in the country, puzzles and fairy stories for the children.
On May 4, 1917, Mr. Stevick was elected to membership in the Associated Press, quite an honor considering that it is a custom of this association to have but one member in a territory and that the Associated Press had had for many years a member in Champaign who used a small news report of that association. This member protested against the election to membership of Mr. Stevick, but the board of directors of the association overruled the objection. The Champaign Daily News then gave to the people of this vicinity for the first time the daily report of full leased wire service of the Associated Press. The News was also elected to membership in the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association, one of the strongest associations in the world, and was also made a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and is the only newspaper in this district that is a member of all three of these organizations. Two years after Mr. Stevick purchased The Champaign Daily News it had changed from a two-linotype and a 12-page press equipped newspaper to six linotypes, a 32-page Goss press, the full Associated Press telegraphic wire news report, a member of A. N. P. A., 156 employees, its circulation greatly increased, located in its own building and had grown to be Eastern Illinois’ greatest newspaper.