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Monday, May 10, 2021

Here at The Alligator, we pride ourselves on many things, perhaps the most important being our  independence. 

But the truth is, we could never do this alone. We need help and support from you.

Three years ago, a few Alligator editors started the #SaveStudentNewsrooms campaign to show the challenges student newsrooms face. Every year since, on April 25 we’re joined by newsrooms across the country sharing our financial hardships, censorship cases and notable work. It looks the same at almost every college –– student newsrooms are struggling.

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, things at The Alligator got even more difficult. We dropped from printing three days a week to once. We lost advertisers in the community as businesses shut their doors. Late nights and midnight coffee runs at the office turned into hours and hours of Zoom meetings.

But, that hasn’t stopped us from doing important and impactful work over the last year. In Spring 2020, our staff quickly pivoted to set up a virtual newsroom and cover all things COVID-19. Over the Summer, the staff documented the Black Lives Matter movement with gorgeous writing, visuals and social media posts. When students returned in the Fall, The Alligator was there to document every step of reopening and the “new normal” on UF’s campus. This Spring we finished strong by covering tragic student pedestrian deaths on one of Gainesville’s major roads and writing obituaries for COVID-19 victims in the community.

Keep in mind that while we do all that, our staff is entirely run by students, which poses its own set of challenges. Student journalists balance classwork, editing sessions, reporting assignments, midterms, social lives and outside jobs all at the same time. 

Many of us make sacrifices to report these stories. We work late nights to accommodate our schedules and put together stories that are important to our readers. We do it because we love the craft and find the value in the industry. 

When you support The Alligator –– or any student newsroom –– you’re not just sponsoring the paper. You’re sponsoring the next generation of journalists. Our staff has gone on to work in newsrooms like The New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times and more. 

We also recognize not everyone sees value in supporting a dusty old newspaper delivered to orange boxes around Gainesville. If you don’t, let us know what you would want to support. How about daily newsletters? Fees for public records requests? Interactive data graphics? Podcasts? What about a story on Tenders the Tolbert cat? 

Five years ago, we printed the newspaper five days a week. The Alligator has changed a lot since then, and it’s still changing. We’re not sure what the future of The Alligator looks like, but we want your help in shaping it. To #SaveStudentNewsrooms we need to grow and adapt with the industry. And that’s something we can’t do without you. 

Please consider donating to The Alligator here. 

Signed,

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Karina Elwood, Spring 2021 Editor-in-Chief

Payton Titus, Spring 2021 Digital Managing Editor

Kaelyn Cassidy, Summer 2021 Editor-in-Chief, Spring 2021 Engagement Managing Editor

Julia Coin, Summer 2021 Digital Managing Editor

Steven Walker, Summer 2021 Engagement Managing Editor

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