Name: Jessica DaSilva
College publication: The Independent Florida Alligator (Gainesville, Florida)
Where I am now: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Resource Counsel
The Alligator made me a better legal journalist and continues to make be a better lawyer.
I spent three years working at The Independent Florida Alligator, starting as a stringer and eventually becoming editor-in-chief. Although I couldn’t seem to crack into the industry in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, my writing and research abilities are what got me into law school and succeed as a legal writer.
Eventually, I made my way back into journalism as a senior legal editor for Bloomberg Law, where I wrote about the criminal justice system for a legal audience.
My experience at The Alligator is why I was able to hit the ground running at Bloomberg and successfully cover U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments, political movements affecting criminal justice, and delve deeper into the minds of policy experts to provide analysis unparalleled by other organizations covering the same issues.
This depth of knowledge and ability follow my curiosity to find answers is what led me into advocacy. I use these skills to support the criminal justice reform movement in a way that all people can understand the importance for change.
“Vol. 1, No. 1! … Our Alma Mater has never had a regular periodical, but that is no reason why she should not have one,” wrote an enterprising group of young men at a small college on the east end of Allentown. “We enter upon with the firm conviction that a publication of this description will supply a long-felt want, and that it can be of perpetual benefit to our college.”
Of course, the ‘alma mater’ in question in the above 1883 article is Muhlenberg and the publication none other than The Muhlenberg Weekly (at that point in time it was officially known as the “Muhlenberg Monthly”). There have certainly been many changes since 1883 — including a relocation to the present-day home in Allentown’s west end, 11 presidents, and the introduction of co-education — but one constant remains: The Muhlenberg Weekly.
I had clocked in to the office at around five that evening, and then proceeded to spend roughly seven hours trying to figure out how to lay out my section and determine next week’s round of articles with my co-editor. I also had to learn the names of twelve new faces who, for the most part, were all older than me and all seemed to know what they were doing. There were style guidelines and grammar guidelines and editing processes that I just could not get the hang of. Piled on top of this was the certainty running through my mind that someone was going to figure out that I didn’t belong there, that I was not the right person for the job.
The Daily Campus, the student newspaper for Southern Methodist University, recently announced it is re-affiliating with the university after the financial burden of independence has become unmanageable. In response, student editors at The Independent Florida Alligator are spearheading a movement to call attention to the challenges student newsrooms face in producing quality content with limited resources.
The Daily Free Press itself has historically struggled to keep its head above water. In the fall of 2014, with debt amounting to $70,000, the FreeP switched from printing daily to printing weekly. That November, we announced that unless we could raise money to pay back a large portion of our debt, we would be forced to stop printing entirely. Donations amounting over $70,000 from high-profile donors, including Bill O’Reilly, saved our weekly print edition.
The State Press has been covering ASU in some capacity for almost 130 years, since before Tempe Normal School was a university or Arizona was a state.
We’ve operated as an insert in The East Valley Tribune, a publication of the ASU journalism school and, since the ’70s, as an editorially independent, student-run newsroom beneath the umbrella of ASU Student Media.
We work to serve, challenge and provoke the University community we serve. And with more than 100,000 enrolled, it’s a big community to cover.
Today, April 25, alongside 120 student newsrooms, The Amsterdammer will proudly join the international student movement #SaveStudentNewsroom on the –unofficial– Support Student Journalism Day. This movement is an initiative created by the editorial board of the Independent Florida Alligator, a student newspaper that serves the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
The Amsterdammer is a recently-created student newspaper, an ode to our belief that student-run news organisations are crucial tools for journalism education. Earlier this week, our founder Isabel Bonnet explained why student journalism is a necessity. To explain why such a new paper is already affected by lack of funding, it is first important to understand our standpoint.