To kick off Summer B 2021, here’s a little known fact: The Alligator is one of the largest independent student newsrooms in the country.
Whether you’re fresh out of high school and you’re on your way right now to your very first college class or you’ve been working hard these last few years to transfer to UF, if you don’t know us yet — hi, we’re The Alligator. We’re here to give you the news.
It’s an honor we do not take lightly, especially considering the current state of student newsrooms across the country. In 2018, The Alligator’s editors started a campaign to Save Student Newsrooms, and we have been trying to show the importance of student voices in journalism ever since.
Student newsrooms face constant hardships such as financial difficulties and censorship, yet their service to their communities is often unmatched. They are designed to fit college students' needs and interests. No other newspaper is tailored to report on the heart of campus and provide an unbiased perspective on student life at a university. At The Alligator, we expand our coverage beyond the university to include general Gainesville news.
During a period of uncertainty in the pandemic, student journalists at The Alligator provided updates and tallied contracted cases to inform the community about immediate changes. The Washington Post called student reporters the “journalism heroes for the pandemic era” because they are the hub of knowledge for college students.
When major policy changes are threatening to impact the community, student reporters may be the only ones in the room covering it. If there is outrage over a campus incident or announcement, the first place readers look is the school paper.
The role of student newsrooms is not just to provide updates and stories, it is to give a voice to the community. The opinions section of The Alligator allows people to write to us directly and tell their experiences. They provide perspectives that may be unheard of in the community and give a personal look into college life.
But student newsrooms are not an outlet for colleges to promote their own agendas. Since we became independent from UF, our newsroom has acted as a watchdog, holding those in power accountable. In some cases, our coverage has influenced UF to reconsider its previous decisions.
Student journalists have an opportunity to educate and inform people on selective issues that are relevant to a key demographic. And they do this all while juggling school, jobs, extracurriculars and more.
We don’t get much sleep and our caffeine addictions are intense to say the least, but it’s worth it to be a place where our community can get unbiased, trustworthy news. If that sounds good to you, all we ask is you pick up a paper once in a while.
The Editorial Board is made up of the Editor-in-Chief, Digital Managing Editor, Engagement Managing Editor, and Opinions Editor.