I feel like as a society, we have a lot of the same personal resolutions: save money, eat healthier, work out more, be happier, etc.
So instead of sharing my generic but actually very sincere personal resolutions for the new year, I’m going to share my career resolutions for this year.
1.) Be a better writer: When I first got into the business, I ordered a bunch of books off of Amazon about how to be a better broadcast journalism writer. I would read the books in my spare time, soaked them up, and applied the teachings in my everyday job. I was so hungry to learn! Probably because I graduated with a generic Communication Studies degree instead of a Broadcast Journalism degree, so I felt I needed to catch up with my colleagues. But fast forward four years later, I find that I haven’t really been continuing my education when it comes to my script writing. I feel I write good scripts, but as with anything, I know they can be better. This year I vow to devote energy and time into improving my writing skills.
2.) Investigate more: I got into this business to be the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein. I feel so inspired when I hear instances where investigative journalists really made a difference and truly served as the 4th estate. I have not been able to be an investigative reporter full time yet, but I always find myself searching the court systems in my free time and reading through meeting minutes constantly. If I have a free second in my day while trying to turn a daily story, I’ll quickly write up a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) and email it out, in hopes that the results could give insight into a future story. But 65% of the time, I feel overwhelmed with my daily workload and don’t think I have time to look a little deeper. This year, even if I am overloaded with my daily duties, I want to make it a goal to constantly be working on investigative stories. After all, doing investigative work is the reason I got into this business in the first place.
3.) Be more creative: As a one man band, meaning I shoot my own video, I don’t feel like the expectations are very high for what the video quality looks like when it comes to MMJs. But, videography and journalism are both of my passions and this year I hope to remember that. In my internships, I gravitated more toward shadowing the photojournalists because I’ve always had a love for videography. I studied the photogs and constantly asked them questions during my internships, I wanted to be as much of a creative shooter as they were! Four years later, I don’t feel like I’m thinking out of the box and being as creative as I could be. Don’t get me wrong though, I still value my video skills, I make sure there are no jump cuts, flash frames, improperly framed interviews, I white balance, and makes sure each frame is in focus, but still I feel like I could do more. I just need to strive to step outside of the box and be a little more creative with my shooting and standups.
4.) Timing: I’ve gotten into the habit of consistently turning daily stories that are 1:40-1:45, which is acceptable in my market. However, I want to strive to turn tighter stories that are 1:30 or less. Even though I feel day turns are the bare bones of the story, I try to take solace in knowing that I can beef up my web story with extra quotes and other exclusive content. After all, most people who consume news these days are #digitalfirst. However, I do want to make sure I note that stories that are not daily turns do deserve more time. Investigative reports, for example, should be given the time it needs to be able to give everybody in the story a fair shake.
5.) Live life outside of work: This one is almost a hybrid of personal and career goal, but I always want to be able to live a balanced life. I learned this from a friend I interned with that went on to be a digital content producer. She was always determined to have a balanced life, meaning her life wouldn’t always be consumed with work. Life shouldn’t be 100% work, any manager who thinks that should know the employee who does devote life to work is one dimensional. Having hobbies and interests outside of work is what makes a journalist a “real person”, it makes them more in touch with the community they are living in. This year, I want to connect with my community more and strive to live a more balanced life.