Name: Ariana Figueroa
College newspaper: The Independent Florida Alligator (Gainesville, Florida)
Where I am now: News Assistant at CNN
I would not be the journalist I am today without my student newspaper. And that’s not because The Alligator gave me an environment that allowed me to learn how to write, edit and make mistakes. All of those skills are valuable, but the reason I am still in journalism is because of those lifelong friends I made at the paper. Those friends were the ones that calmed my doubts about whether or not I’d make it as a journalist and gave me confidence when I needed it most. I would have quit a long time ago if it weren’t for that support group I found at my student paper.
The Alligator gave me the ability to be a leader and grow into the woman I am today, and it gave me a sisterhood I never imagined having.
Student papers matter and the experience and friendships made there are priceless. If student papers don’t get the support they need and deserve, it’s going to put limits on what the next generation of journalists can accomplish.