Home > Ethics, Writing > Twelve resolutions for the New Year

Twelve resolutions for the New Year

December 30, 2010

Most papers are still stuck in that Year In Review/no new news wasteland. That and my chocolate-turkey-wine spritzer hangover mean that posts will continue to be sparse until something noteworthy happens and/or papers get back to their day-to-day operations.

If I had been running this blog for a year, I’d come up with a top 10 list. But I haven’t. (And unless I get some help, I probably never will).

Still, when all else fails this time of year, there are still those New Year’s Resolutions.

Like rules and Tim Hunter‘s nose, resolutions are made to be broken.

But I’ll ignore that little fact.

Below you’ll find stock resolutions for reporters, photographers, editors and publishers, David Black and Paul Godfrey.


I will never lede with the statement that the representatives of a municipal council, school board or regional district. By doing so, I will acknowledge that the meeting is not news. What was said at the meeting is.

I will, when given the opportunity, name names of wrongdoers when documents can be found to back up one’s story.

I will look, and use, documents.

I will file at least one Freedom of Information request this year, even if it’s of the frivolous, fishing-expedition nature.

I will write in the active voice.

I will use narrative.

I will be funny.


I will sit on a football, soccer or rugby field instead of standing.

I will purposely tilt my camera at an angle during a portrait shoot, just to see what happens.

I will carry a step ladder in the back of my car — and actually use it.


I will not write an editorial that does not make an argument.

I will not run a grip-and-grin on the front page.

I will not ask a reporter to write a business story that reeks of lame-ness.

I will hound the publisher for more resources.


If I do not have an editorial background, I will ackowledge that fact and step away from the newsroom.

I will grow a thick skin.

I will recognize that car dealers are largely slimy bastards who  will push and push until they feel push-back.

Paul Godfrey:

I will repent for forcing SwarmJam on newsrooms.

I will acknowledge the fact that I own community newspapers and that they are profitable.

I will sell the newspapers to someone who cares.

If that proves too much, I will send some sign that I am grateful for their work.

I will restore in-company award banquets and competitions as a way to promote and foster better journalism. I’ll throw in free booze, for the winners (and the losers).

David Black:

I will acknowledge the fact that I own newspapers and not a series of presses that happen to print editorial content.

I will make clear to publishers that they are not to fire editors who piss off advertisers (i.e. I will grow a pair).

Failing that, I will follow in another Black’s footsteps by buying up cratering American papers, going bankrupt and selling all of my papers to someone new.

I will also restore in-company award banquets and competitions as a way to promote and foster better journalism. And I too will throw in free booze, for the winners (and the losers).

Have you made a resolution? Leave a comment.

Photo by Jeff Golden via Flickr.


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