You may already know that the Champaign County Historical Archives has a large collection of local newspapers from 1852 to the present day. In addition to well-known popular publications like the News-Gazette, Courier, and Daily Illini, we also have microfilm copies of papers from smaller communities, such as the Homer Enterprise and the Tolono Herald. If you're looking for news from one of CU's independent presses, like the Spectrum, Sidewinder, or Octopus, we have print copies available for perusal in the reading room.
Perhaps you don't have time to visit us in person, or you want to research old news after hours. If so, you may want to check out the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections from the University Library at the University of Illinois. There, you can browse digitized versions of over 100 newspaper titles and trade journals from all over Illinois, dating back to 1831. Champaign County researchers will be particularly interested in the Daily Illini (1874-1975), The Champaign County News (1903-1916), The Champaign Daily News (1895-1919), and Urbana Daily Courier (1903-1935).
I really enjoy using this collection. It can be easier on the eye than using microfilm for extended periods, and while it isn't indexed (like many obituaries and articles are in Local History Online), the IDNC uses transcription software, aided by human volunteers who improve these robotic translations. (Pro tip: you can register to be one of these transcribers.) There is also the option to "clip" an article for simple saving, printing, and social-media sharing (right click on the article to access this and other options). It's also pretty fun to look at the old advertisements, classifieds, comics, and crosswords. In fact, here's one from 60 years ago to work on over your lunch break.
-Sarah Lubelski, Archives Assistant