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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Today, in lieu of the traditional Friday Darts & Laurels, we at the Alligator would like to share an editorial we planned to run Monday. But in light of a recent article, Darts & Laurels seemed a more appropriate platform.

Guess what? We’re moving! And we’re sorry you didn’t hear it from us first. 

On Thursday, the front page of The Gainesville Sun announced that our building on 1105 W. University Ave. had been sold. Yes, our building has been sold. And yes, the sale is news — news The Gainesville Sun was right to report on.

But the reporter did not make any attempt to reach out to the student staff at our paper, an embarrassing oversight in an article discussing the past and future of our building. The Gainesville Sun was, for many of the students on staff, our first internship and our first step into professional journalism. Consequently, we are disappointed our former colleagues would be so irresponsible in their reporting to neglect the voice of the people this decision affects the most.

With that, a Dart goes to The Gainesville Sun for neglectful reporting and disrespect to our staff, our alumni and our readership. 

This is not the end of the Alligator, as many have been led to believe. Instead, it’s the bittersweet beginning of a new chapter in the paper’s history as we prepare to begin publishing from a new location on Southwest 13th Street on May 9.

The sale of our building reflects our industry as a whole: The Miami Herald sold its building for $236 million in 2011, The Tampa Bay Times has had one of its locations listed since January 2015 and The Washington Post sold its headquarters in 2014. While our dilapidated ex-fraternity house, with bamboo wallpaper and the occasional rat, doesn’t have quite the same prestige or neighborhood, it carries the same amount of memories and promise.

But like our professional colleagues, the sale of the building is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of evolution and growth as we adapt to a changing industry and a changing readership. It means our staff will have the financial support to ensure this paper’s survival and prosperity for generations of student journalists to come.

Saying goodbye to our building will be like saying goodbye to a first car. It’s old, barely holding itself together with shaky wires and silly memories. But saying goodbye brings the promise of a better future — in our case, a future with stronger WiFi, better technology and the capability to produce bigger and better content for the University of Florida and Gainesville.

There are several milestones in Alligator history: our first publication in 1906, independence from the university in 1973 and moving to 1105 W. University Ave. in 1982. And in May 2016, there will be another one: moving to a new location on Southwest 13th Street.

As we coordinate with the professional day staff, there are still aspects unknown to us, the students, about our move. But, through every milestone and change, one thing has and will remain consistent: The paper has been a source of persistent and passionate journalism, for students and by students.

And thus, a Laurel goes to our staff and our readership, the people who have always supported and will continue to support our publication and our pursuit of journalism.

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A building does not make this paper. The people do.

Correction: The original edition of this article incorrectly reported that The Tampa Bay Times has listed their downtown Tampa location. The location listed is in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

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