This time of year, many of us reflect on the past year and look forward to the new adventures and experiences a new year will bring! We asked Alligator Alumni from around the nation to share why they’re thankful for The Alligator.
Here are just a few reasons we have to be #thankful for The Alligator!
Journalism is a trade. Lots of pride for my first newsroom.
I learned more at the Independent Florida Alligator than I ever did in a classroom. I truly believe journalism is a trade, and the more you listen to people, dig for records and work on your writing, the better you’ll get — with a little help, of course. Once the nerves wore off, I found that getting help in the Alligator office, from students I had long looked up to, made me more comfortable and confident in this field much more quickly than some of my J-school peers. And of course, the professional experience I got there helped me launch my career. I still wear my Alligator shirt at work (and I got the “a” tattoo during the most recent reunion). Lots of pride for my first newsroom.
Nowhere else on campus granted me the freedom.
When I make a list of reasons I am thankful for the Alligator, my answers all sound like stereotypes. I’m thankful for the opportunity to build clips as a student. Nowhere else on campus granted me the freedom to try anything I had never done before with my reporting. I’m thankful for the job training that set me apart from other applications in my job hunt. I’m thankful for the lifelong friends I have years later who have flown out to Hawaii and visited or those who I can always come home and see. And as I move forward in my professional life, I am thankful for the network of advice and listening ears among alumni.
– Emily Cardinali, Hawaii Public Radio
Working on deadline, turning ideas on a dime, punching up.
When former ME/Online Megan Taylor noticed something I’d made online and asked me to work with her, it was the start of my career. As anyone reading this knows, the experience at the Alligator is incomparable: working on deadline, turning ideas on a dime, punching up. You have free reign to decide what’s news and to go after stories you think matter. It’s a freedom you might not get for a decade into your actual career. So for all that, I’m thankful. It taught me more than class ever could, and without it I’d be something awful, like a lawyer.
– Ken Schwencke, ProPublica
It warmed me up for life now.
I was accountable here. To myself, to the student body and most importantly to the other people in the newsroom. I learned how to deal with and manage people better, how to problem solve, how to deal with failure and how to be in a fishbowl. It warmed me up for life now.
– Aundre Larrow, Adobe photography fellow
A true incubator and concentrator of talent.
I’m thankful for the professional and personal relationships forged with the awesome journalists working in that newsroom—people who, despite little full-time job experience in a newsroom, demonstrated an awesome moral compass reporting and editing and put in countless hours together to make a great digital and paper presence. I’m thankful for the Alligator for being a true incubator and concentrator of talent, unseen at most other college institutions.
– Matthew Riva, Wall Street Journal
Lifeline of newsroom responsibility.
Not to be morose, but I’m thankful for the Alligator because in a way, the paper saved my life. I went through a serious battle with depression my junior year of college, and having a place where I was held accountable to show up every day and where I felt like I had a worthwhile mission kept me going through some of the worst days. I knew people were counting on me: my writers, my fellow editors and my readers. I couldn’t let them down, and I wrote and edited some powerful pieces during these dark months. Having that lifeline of newsroom responsibility gave me the time I needed to realize I needed to get help, and today I’m healthily managing my depression and anxiety, and the journalistic education I got there propelled me to be the reporter I am today.
– Anonymous reporter