Welcome to the newest version of Smile Politely, its fourth iteration in ten years.

We’re proud that we have a news and culture magazine that’s stronger than ever — especially given the current political climate — and we feel good about the next decade ahead of publishing. At least, for us.

Without boring you too much with any grandiose introductions, here are the major changes that we’re introducing to the magazine with this redesign. If you were curious about who created it, and why it looks the way it does, we have Wax Era Creative to thank for the design, and Neutral Design Studio for the backend coding.

We made the magazine brighter. 

The previous version of SP was predominantly greys and beiges. We made some changes to further emphasize the branding of SP, but brightened things up a bit. You’ll notice that the sections are no longer color coded. Here’s what the site looked like before (above), and the new version (you're on it!), which you’re using right now.


We made it easier to navigate the site on your mobile device(s).

The mobile version of the website was a huge leap from the previous redesign, and we’re making it even easier to navigate through the sections of the site. If you’re browsing on mobile, there’s a new pop-out menu located up top and to the left. Super simple.

We integrated the SPlog more than ever before, and integrated our Tech section into Culture.

The SPlog is a massively popular component of SP. While SPlogs are typically breaking news, or lively banter of some sort, there is significant information that gets published through that section. Therefore, you’ll notice that the SPlogs are published right alongside editorial from the other sections.

We removed commenting.

We went a decade with commenting on SP, and now, we’re pushing commenting to our social media pages. The reason? Well, there’s simply too many anonymous commenters, and in a community like this one, it is too small to hide behind an avatar if you have something to say and don't want to own it with your real identity. So, you can still comment, but you just have to do it on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. Preferably with your real name and your picture. You can find all of the articles posted there anyway, so chime in and join the discussion. And remember, If you really have something to say, you can always submit to start writing articles for us. That’s the whole idea.


We added a small thank you to our annual partners.

It is no secret who our advertising partners are — the banners are all over the site. That said, there are partners that advertise with us annually, and make SP possible in a lot of ways. They deserve your attention and we endorse them as they endorse us. You can see at the top of the desktop version of the site now exists a small hat tip logo position for them. They rotate evenly, based upon their annual commitment to the magazine.


We have a newsletter called Smile Politely Digest.

If you’re interested in signing up for our weekly Smile Politely Digest, you totally should. You can get an email — one email! — to your inbox per week that highlights what happened the week prior, and previews what’s coming up the following week. Sign up here.

So, we hope you like the new site. We certainly do, and we’re excited to dive in to our next 20,000+ articles with you.

Champaign-Urbana is a rare blend of amazing and infuriating, irrational and pragmatic, exciting and boring, transparent and devious. Join us as we dissect it and learn to love it more with each passing year.