Most people make pretty normal resolutions...you know, lose weight, quit smoking, send out ten resume tapes each month, etc. But if you're stuck for something meaningful you might give it a little more thought, and it might even help your career.
Considering the state of local news, the business in general, and the fact that viewers are leaving in droves you might think the biz has no future. Let's face it, it is not exactly a growth industry. But while TV News as we know it has an uncertain future, you can still make it better in the present. I'm always reminded of the great Carole Kneeland, the late News Director who worked in Texas and coined the phrase, "It is never the wrong time to do the right thing." Carole had a wonderful view of the news business, as she basically turned down the police scanner and did stories that actually affected people. She also believed in treating people well, something that is often lost in many newsrooms today. If you simply let her famous quote weave its way through your life and career, you might see things in a different light...and make this business a little better.
So, with that in mind, here are a few suggestions to "re-invent" yourself in 2012:
-Make a difference with a story. Once each month, make it a point to knock out a package that makes the world a better place.
-Don't "advance" a story for the sake of advancing. Too often this leads to speculation, rumors and misinformation. We're not in the rumor business. If you have nothing new in the way of hard facts, tell the public just that. Viewers would appreciate the honesty.
-Praise a co-worker in front of someone else. Don't just tell the photog he shot some great video, make sure someone hears you say it.
-Welcome the new person at your station. Too often the new guy gets the cold shoulder because someone else wasn't promoted from within.
-Do stories that really affect the viewer. Don't just take a press release and pass it on. Find two sides of the story, then look for the third point of view... one that affects the average person.
-If you're an on-air person, be nice to the people who make you look good. Treat a photog to lunch, thank the truck op for pulling cables, buy a box of donuts for the morning meeting.
-Don't yell in the newsroom. Ever.
-Bury the ego.
-Spend time in someone else's shoes. If you're a reporter, don't criticize a producer if you've never spent a minute in the control room. If you're a producer, don't send field crews on assignments that can't be completed unless you've spent time in the field. Find out what everyone in the newsroom does and you might have a better appreciation of other points of view.
-Print out the phrase "It is never the wrong time to do the right thing" and stick it above your computer. It might help you make good decisions in the future.