From Ron Thompson: ‘This independence must be preserved going forward.’

Name: Ron Thompson

College newspaper: The Independent Florida Alligator

Where I am now:  Senior Photo Editor, Tampa Bay Times (retired)

I came to the Alligator as it was moving from the old freezers behind the Purple Porpoise to the location on University Avenue that was recently sold. The newsroom was filled with eager young journalists who took pride in their work, and were not afraid to step on toes at the University when necessary. Many of those students went on to become leading journalists working throughout the world. There are numerous Pulitzer and World Press Association award winners in those alumni. Most, if not all, can point back to their days as student journalists working in a newsroom independent of strict university dictates as the invaluable first step in their careers. This independence must be preserved going forward.