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Guest Column: USF’s The Oracle deserves better. Here’s why it matters

Candace Braun Davison pictured at The Oracle’s office. She worked at the paper from spring 2006 to fall 2009. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/CANDACE BRAUN DAVISON

Candace Braun Davison is a former Oracle Editor in Chief. She worked at the newsroom from spring 2006 through fall 2009. Now, Braun is the vice president of editorial content at PureWow, where she oversees lifestyle stories and special projects for the brand. In 2023, she won USF’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Calling USF’s student newspaper The Oracle is all too fitting; for many, like myself, it set the course of our careers. 

It was the whole reason I snagged an interview for an internship at a certain Pulitzer Prize-winning Florida newspaper years ago, a fact made abundantly clear when the then-recruiter looked up from my resume and said, “So, why USF? You couldn’t get in anywhere else?”


It was a gut punch in the moment, but it was also a test to see how I’d respond.

I laughed that he couldn’t see what I saw – a campus nestled in the country’s 13th biggest media market, with a student newspaper full of dogged reporters who were known to break news ahead of said professional outlets, his included. 

He smirked, admitting it was my experience at the paper that made him sit down with me.

Related: The Oracle needs your help

Later, when I moved to New York to pursue a career in magazines, I realized that in an industry that’s all about who you know, you can get by with what you know—and what you’ve done. 

Candace Braun Davison (pictured middle) reporting on the field. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/CANDACE BRAUN DAVISON

I had years of journalism experience and boots-on-the-ground reporting; a portfolio packed with clips covering everything from complicated budget explainers to human interest pieces. 

It snagged me interviews mid-recession, when every weary editor reminded me I was one of 450 and, at one publication, 1,200 applicants for an entry-level job. But those long nights I put in Sundays through Thursdays in the basement of the Student Services building paid off.

I knew how to tackle a variety of stories, to “get off my butt and knock on doors” when sources weren’t answering their phones, to dig for answers. 

It was the best kind of training ground; you’d pour your soul into a story, design the layouts, go through the edits – then learn the next day, through our adviser’s critique, what you could’ve done better. 

You developed a thick skin as fellow students wrote letters – or called you out in class – for coverage they found lackluster (or worse, unfair).

When I faced my own Prada-wearing devil in the early 2010s, I was unphased.

 The Oracle created a foundation that helped me climb the ranks at Hearst magazines and adapt to an increasingly digital landscape – something Oracle editors are facing directly these days, as the publication has moved fully online, like so many in the industry. 

It’s still the best hands-on experience a student can ask for; one that also develops a sense of camaraderie and confidence too.

And somehow, today’s students are getting it all done on two outdated computers and a barely functioning TV. 

They deserve better than that. 

Our donations through the USF Foundation can keep The Oracle – arguably the heartbeat of the university – alive, and transform so many lives (and careers) in the process.

So let’s rally together and not just keep The Oracle alive, but help it thrive, so that years from now on, the question won’t be, “why USF?” But “of course, USF.” 

I see its potential, and I know you do, too.