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Thursday, April 18, 2024

So you've resigned yourself to this? Reporting? Really?

Your parents probably ask, "What about law school?" (I know my mom does.)

No pay, they say. Suffering job market, they say.

They're probably right.

But you're determined to be the next Woodward or Bernstein. Before you break the next Watergate, a job here at the Alligator might help.

If you're saying, "Sign me up," I welcome you to come by our open house today.

We'll be in our newsroom on University Avenue, a few blocks east of UF's campus, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

We'll be answering aspiring journalists' questions about getting published, getting jobs or whatever else is on their minds. Oh, and there will be free pizza.

We're looking for just about all positions - from reporters to photojournalists to columnists to graphics designers.

I know, I know. You've tried before.

You've submitted your stories. You've called. You've e-mailed. And we still didn't run your stuff.

Don't get discouraged. We turn down a lot of stories. You aren't alone.

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What would make you stand out, though, is being willing to work hard for us. If we don't run the first thing you submit, take a step back. Maybe your story wasn't timely, or maybe it wasn't newsworthy for the Alligator.

And there are plenty of opportunities here, no matter what you're interested in.

If you want to spend your time between classes chasing down UF administrators and calling university spokespersons, well, you're probably not going to get the job right off the bat. But submit some stories that prove you can handle that sort of thing.

Maybe you're opinionated. You could try out for a spot as a regular columnist. We welcome those with all viewpoints - be they conservative or liberal - to apply. Bring in a sample column of about 550 words, and show us what you've got. Or just e-mail it to

Like sports? Our sports staff follows the Gators all over the country, from covering a weeknight basketball game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to spending a week in Arizona covering the football team at the national championship game.

The sports editors are looking for copy editors and writers so come by and see how you - uhh - score with them.

Do you hate when your friends send you text messages without punctuation? Do you debate hyphen placement with your friends?

Our copy desk does, and maybe you'd fit in well there. Come by and schedule a copy-editing test based on grammar and Associated Press style.

Whether you're a freshman or a senior and want to be a journalist of any kind when you graduate, I'd encourage you to come by and see how you can get experience with us.

Who knows? You might be the next Carl Hiaasen, an Alligator alumnus, a noted novelist and a columnist for The Miami Herald.

Or perhaps you'll be the next alum who wins the Pulitzer Prize, like former staffers Debbie Cenziper and David Finkel recently did.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, stop by our office. We'll see if we can put you to work.

Then maybe it will be your mug shot running in our ads for open house in a few years.

Chad Smith is a journalism senior and the editor of the Alligator.

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