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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

We know, we know - the Alligator has broken your heart before.

You don't have to remind us because we feel guilty about it already. You've crawled back to us semester after semester, hungry for a chance at redemption, and still, we've rejected your news stories and deleted your columns from our inboxes.

But all that may be about to change.

From noon to 4 p.m. today, we're hosting an open house at our office building, a mere two blocks east of campus. If you don't mind the prospect of trekking to our decrepit office building in the blazing heat, we encourage you to come on over and say hello.

Putting out a paper five days a week is no easy task so we need your help. We're on the hunt for reporters, photographers, copy editors, online staffers and anyone opinionated enough to join our growing editorial board.

Feel free to bring a pile of clips or a portfolio, but if you don't have any experience in journalism, that's fine too. The key qualities we look for in potential employees are diligence and a willingness to learn - and here's where your broken heart comes in.

Semester after semester, we meet people who seem eager to land their byline in the Alligator, yet they don't make much of an effort to follow through on that early interest.

Hoping to get hired as an Alligator beat writer? Don't get discouraged if we don't offer you a job on the spot. Before we can assign you to a meeting of Gainesville's city commission, you should show us you're proactive enough to uncover a story on your own.

Make sure to pick up daily copies of the paper to ensure you don't jump on a story that's already been reported. The more you read and write, the more interested we become in your work.

If visuals are more your style, snap a few pictures on campus and come by to meet our photo editor. Don't worry if there's no news article to accompany a photo - if you haven't noticed yet, we print dozens of pictures that stand alone in the paper.

Maybe you've fantasized about joining that elite team of grammar warriors known as the Alligator copy desk. To make that dream a reality, stop by and ask to take an editing test.

It takes about 45 minutes to complete, but if your schedule is tight today, don't fret - you can always arrange to take it later.

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Our burgeoning online staff is also looking a little small. Whether you're an online media expert or are still learning the basics, we could probably use your help, if you're willing to commit to some late nights and long hours.

By now, you may be thinking that a stint at the Alligator sounds like a lot of hard work. Make no mistake - this isn't exactly your regular part-time job. Instead of flipping burgers after class, you could be hanging out with us every night, interviewing people twice your age and typing up stories that may rouse some tempers.

But if that's the sort of thing you find thrilling, we want to meet you. After all, we're here to help student journalists get a head start on their careers, and we have a long track record of success.

Ever heard of David Finkel? He's a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post who now reports from Iraq. He also happens to be an Alligator alumnus. So is Debbie Cenziper, a reporter who won a Pulitzer earlier this year for her coverage of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency.

So if you can't wait to start churning out your own award-winning pieces, come visit us to chat. We're located at 1105 W University Avenue, right across the street from Bank of America.

Concerned we'll leave you heartbroken again? Think your skills may not be up to par? Don't worry - we're here to help and want to give you an early boost in journalism.

Just remember: Open house is only the beginning.

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

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