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Thursday, October 06, 2022

How does The Alligator handle election coverage?

Our newspaper remains committed to fair, important reporting

Opinions generic
Opinions generic

The Alligator staff has long held ourselves to a consistent set of standards: remaining ethical, unbiased, truthful and independent

We’re a student-run newsroom that cycles through a new staff every semester and fosters the development of new skills — a place to mess up before messing up as a full-time journalist. 

And although there are times when The Alligator has missed the mark on those values, we always look to improve our coverage by listening to feedback from the community we are committed to serving.

This remains especially true during election cycles when our readership depends on us to cover campaigns fairly. But how does The Alligator cover elections, and how do we ensure our reporters remain a reliable source of news? 

Editorial guidance to staff on political reporting

  • Refrain from expressing political opinions in public forums like social media platforms

  • Don’t accept financial compensation, gifts or food at candidate watch parties

  • Treat sources on both sides of the political aisle fairly and respectfully 

  • Verify claims made by political officials through a stringent fact-checking process

  • Consider how the perceived bias of articles, photos and graphics may be seen by members of the public

For much of our staff, this is the first election they’ve ever covered. It’s a daunting task to dive headfirst into political reporting, but many of our Fall 2022 staff members eagerly made the jump.

We may stumble along the way, but that’s part of what makes The Alligator the newsroom it is. We’re not a media conglomerate that prioritizes profit over the community we cover: We’re a group of students trying to learn to be the best journalists we can be.

Everything our newsroom creates is thoughtful, intentional and goes through rigorous rounds of fact-checking and editing. Students work alongside students — some in senior roles and others just starting out — all the while acknowledging that every member of the staff is learning and growing as they go.

We value the trust we’ve built with our community over the course of our 115-year legacy. We speak out against misinformation because it has no place in our community. It’s especially important as distrust grows toward the media. 

Elections have become contentious in a time of “alternative facts” and “fake news.” And as we look forward to November, we’ll continue to do our part in reporting the truth.

Thank you for taking a look behind the scenes of the news in an age where many don’t take the time to read it.

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