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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ByJessica DaSilva

Dear journalism majors,

I don't know if anyone has told you, but the news industry is in a state of emergency.

From June to December 2007, about 2,000 newspaper jobs were cut across the U.S. And as of Wednesday, more than 8,000 jobs have been cut in 2008.

Are you wondering how the hell you're going to find a job once you graduate? Well, join the club.

No, literally, join the Alligator staff.

The Alligator's open house will be held Friday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m.

We're hiring for just about every position, including writers, copy editors, bloggers and online production.

You know from your classes in the College of Journalism and Communications that you need to have a portfolio and build up your resume as much as you can before graduation. Well, the Alligator is the perfect place to do that.

We have more than our share of work to go around, so if you're ready to put in some elbow grease, we'll gladly put you to work.

But you won't just get the work you want. You will get the guidance, attention and feedback that is lacking in classes of 300 and internship programs at newspapers that are busy worrying how to print a newspaper on a reduced staff.

I know from climbing the ranks at the Alligator that I've been whipped into shape by being thrown into the reporting process from the beginning with a full support network behind me.

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When I first started working here in July 2006, I was a reporting student who had only written a couple of stories for the paper with no other newspaper experience. I was a horrible writer, but I was reliable and desperate for clips.

I remember my first stories on the Student Government beat, and I remember having them torn apart by a tenacious university editor every night in the newsroom.

However, it was the same editor who encouraged me and mentored me when my stories were completely rearranged and cut in half.

This trademark of tenacious editing and mentoring is what makes the learning curve at the Alligator so steep. Let me tell you from experience, it won't be long before you know the 10-plus rules for using a comma or how to shoot video.

The Alligator will also prepare you for whatever field you decide to go into, which is evident in our alumni network.

Some of our alumni include Rep. Charles Bennet, the longest-serving U.S. representative from Florida; Carl Hiaasen, author and award-winning columnist for The Miami Herald; Ian Johnson, Berlin bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal and Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent; and Tom Kennedy, managing editor for multimedia at WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive and former director of photography for National Geographic.

And to give you an idea of how far you can get after a few semesters, current and recently graduated staffers have worked at The St. Petersburg Times, The Miami Herald, CNN.com, Roll Call Newspaper in Washington, D.C., and even MLB.com.

So don't be a stranger. Come meet us, check us out and fill out an application.

It might be in your best interest.

Jessica DaSilva is a journalism and political science senior and editor in chief of the Alligator.

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