This year, I’m keeping my New Year’s resolutions

Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. I always make at least a few, but I can’t remember a year when I ever actually followed through on any of them (past February, anyway).

Maybe I set too many goals, or too ambitious goals, or maybe I just lack the willpower to see them through. But this year, I thought I’d try something different: Instead of setting goals for my personal life,* I’m going to make a set of professional resolutions – goals I’d like to accomplish in my career in the coming year.

It was difficult to narrow down my list of resolutions, because journalism changes every day. The tools I choose to learn this week may not be applicable at this time next year. Still, there are some things that I know I need to be learning or doing better that will help me in both the short- and long-term.

Here are my 2013 journalism resolutions:

1) Learn to code. This is my number one resolution for 2013, and I’ve already started on it with the help of tools like this online class from edX (it’s free!), and Codecademy. I don’t expect to learn how to build in-depth, fancy websites, but I’d like to learn enough to have a basic understanding. Knowing how to code will be an essential skill as media, including the Tribune, continue to focus on digital efforts. At the Tribune, I hope to use this skill to encourage more interaction and engagement with the community on our website.

2) Build on my video skills. I know enough about video to shoot something quick on my iPhone and edit it easily enough (at the Tribune, we use Windows Live Movie Maker), but I’d really like to improve my skills. I know I could be using better angles and thinking more about lighting when I shoot. I’d also like to learn one or two additional video editing programs (probably iMovie and Adobe Premiere Elements, which was actually a Christmas gift from my awesome parents). Like coding, it’s become almost essential for every journalist to have a basic (if not more-than-basic) understanding of video.

3) Start a blog. This is a resolution I really should have completed in 2012, but in honor of the New Year, I’m going to forgive myself and look forward. A big part of my job involves working with other people to start their blogs and giving them tips to make the most use of it. It’s time to take my own advice and start blogging. I’m excited and have a ton of ideas, but I also know that it will be a lot of work. I don’t want to start a blog and then have it disappear after a month or two. I’ve made it a resolution, but I’m going to hold off on it for at least a few months into 2013 so that when I start, I have a clear direction of where I want to go with it.

4) Think about the bigger picture. At a daily newspaper, it’s sometimes difficult to see past your 5 p.m. deadline. Though I don’t write stories for the paper every day, I do have plenty of “daily” responsibilities (updating Twitter, responding to Areavoices questions from bloggers, finding new bloggers to recruit, updating the Live it! social media accounts, etc.) that too often keep me from thinking about the future. In 2013, I’d like to devote some time every week to “big picture” issues: How can we be using social media most effectively? How can our bloggers better help contribute to our overall coverage? What new digital tools should we be using to create community engagement and interaction?

Unlike my personal resolutions, I have high hopes that I will see these ones through to 2014 (mostly because unlike “losing weight” or “organizing my apartment,” I have an actual passion for my work). Still, I know it won’t be easy. I guess that’s why they call them “resolutions.”

Happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2013!

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? How many resolutions do you usually make? Do you ever manage to keep them past February?

*Okay, I confess: Yes, I did still set personal resolutions this year. Those are to 1) drink more water (I make this one every year), 2) read at least two books a month and 3) save more money. Wish me luck!

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