Representing the Alligator

Being a journalism major, I tend to eavesdrop on conversations.

My ears especially perk up when I hear the words “Alligator” and “burn that place down” in the same breath.

I was finishing up a project for my design class in one of the journalism school labs today when I heard a group of students start discussing the Alligator.

Then one of them said: “I hate the Alligator. I would burn that place down. Seriously, watch me.”

I wasn’t really offended, and I definitely didn’t take the arson threat seriously. But I did wonder what inspired this passion in a fellow UF student. I figured he was probably a student in reporting class who had been turned down for publication.

So, I finished up my design project and walked over to the group.

“Hi,” I said. “Mind if I ask you a question? I heard you all talking about the Alligator, and I was wondering what makes you hate it so much.”

One of the students, a friend of our freelance editor Jen, said she loved the Alligator. Then again, she’s in reporting class and had gotten published.

The student who hated the Alligator with such a burning passion turned out not to be a reporting student at all. He was a journalism student who wanted a letter to the editor published and didn’t understand the system.

We had a good 15-minute conversation about it. I found out that he was a member of Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity and had been offended by an editorial about a recent hazing incident. I got a chance to explain how our editorial system works — and he found out that we don’t publish anonymous letters to the editor.

It’s part of my job to to be a PR rep for the Alligator. One of the students told me she thought it was cool that I had come up to them because it showed that I cared.

And I do care about what students think. After all, they’re our readership as well as the people we’re trying to recruit. Being a top editor at the Alligator extends past the newsroom; it’s more of a public position than I sometimes realize.



Filed under Managing

2 responses to “Representing the Alligator

  1. I’m amazed that you have journalism majors who don’t work for The Alligator. How can that be possible?

    How do they find any sort of jobs without experience at the campus publication?

  2. Hilary Lehman

    My theory: they don’t find any sorts of jobs.

    And as to how that’s possible, people don’t want to work as hard as the Alligator makes them work.

    Welcome to journalism, kiddos.

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