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Friday, October 15, 2021

Here at the Alligator, we love to yak about how old our newspaper is.

After all, its history spans an entire century, meaning the Alligator has covered hundreds of UF administrators, Gainesville officials and Gators football players. Last fall, we even dedicated a special edition to chronicling the ups and downs of our past 100 years.

But if we expect to stick around for another 100 years, it's time to focus on new ways to share stories about the community and earn the attention of you - our readers. Believe it or not, we always try to keep your best interests in mind.

That's why today, we're rolling out an ambitious new Web site designed for easier navigation, more reader input and a wider array of stories.

And we don't only mean stories told through words. If you've been keeping up with the Alligator lately, you've probably noticed we?ve been producing online slide shows with photographs that tell tales of their own.

Look for more of that on our new Web site. We're going to ensure our photos, videos and audio interviews are entertaining and informative, not to mention easier than ever to find. A new feature called a content belt allows you to quickly scroll through our lineup of special reports, interactive maps and other goodies.

Of course, we'll still pen plenty of regular articles, and now there's even a perk to that. The snazzy new site allows you to supply instant feedback by posting comments on stories. So, whether you loved that piece about Student Government shenanigans or are absolutely sick of SG coverage, let us - and everyone else - know your opinion on the Web site.

The truth is, you may be wondering why we devote so much space to certain topics in the first place. In the past, we've hosted reader forums to answer questions like that, but the new Web sitemakes it easier for us to address your concerns.

So we're cooking up a blog to give you an insider's view of how we piece together our paper. Ever wonder why we often stick a light, frothy story on the front page? Check out our blog. Its debut will be announced shortly.

But maybe none of that interests you. Maybe the only reason you stumbled across this column in the first place is because you were clicking over to the sports section, your favorite part of the paper.

If that's the case, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed, which allows you to handpick sections of the paper you want to read. This way, you Gators fanatics out there can bypass columns like this and skip straight to the latest on Tim Tebow - or vice versa.

As exciting as these new changes are, I admit that I can't take credit for designing the new site. That distinction belongs largely to our hardworking online staff led by Brett Roegiers, a former managing editor, as well as his successor at the Alligator, Megan Taylor.

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You may think, why go through all this trouble in the first place? After all, the old Alligator site worked fine too.

But journalism is a rapidly changing industry. While its principles and ethics are steadfast, the craft is constantly evolving to accommodate new media.

To capture new readers and ensure old ones stay interested, we at the Alligator know we have to be more than the free paper you pick up at the bus stop. We want to be your 24/7 source for news around UF and Gainesville.

So take a look around the site. We think you'll like what you see, but because the design is so new, there may be a few glitches at first. If so, just get in touch with us to let us know.

These days, it's easier than ever to do that.

Lyndsey Lewis is a journalism junior. She is the editor of the Alligator.

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