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New year brings new chance to be, do better

Newsroom staffers of Sauk Valley Media are back this year with their New Year’s resolutions.

Because this is the second year in a row we have published such a list, we can call it an “annual” feature.

The Associated Press Stylebook prohibits the use of “first annual,” for reasons peculiar to picky journalists.

After reading our list, you can decide for yourself whether the journalists themselves are peculiar.

MORE THAN HALF of the news staff responded to the editor’s call for making a purely voluntary, job-related resolution.

“We will take the opportunity again this year to resolve – publicly – to do our jobs (even) better in 2013,” the staff was told.

What follows are the responses, in roughly the order in which they were received.

Staff members who did not respond were (A) on vacation or (B) too shy to go public with their secret plans for self-improvement.

But rest assured, we all plan to continue to grow and be better in 2013.

Let us know how we’re doing.

DAVID GIULIANI, news reporter: To notice things around me, which was my resolution last year. I need to provide more detail in my stories – the sights, the sounds, the smells. I’ve improved somewhat, including more frequent references to what people are wearing. But, as I sit here in my drab, gray cubicle with the hum of the printer in the background, I realize I have a ways to go.

BRIDGET FLYNN, business reporter: Let’s have fun with the business coverage! There are great business stories in the Sauk Valley that are dying to be told. I resolve to make the business coverage some of the most widely read coverage in the newspaper and to bring readers more interesting, fun stories about trends in what local businesses and customers are doing. I also resolve to get more (wo)man-on-the-street input when a new business opens.

LARRY BRENNAN, sports reporter: I resolve to being an integral part of our sports-specific website. I believe we can bring the local sports fans so much more with a tool like that.

ANDREA MILLS, Community editor: To continue with sending more email proofs for Celebrations to save customers with computer access from having to come into the office to proofread. In addition, to continue to strive for no errors in Celebrations and on the Community pages of SV Weekend.

MARY NEAR, editorial assistant: I will concentrate on sharpening my proofing and typing skills to make sure the information is accurate and correct on the first run.

PHIL HARTMAN, editorial assistant: I will keep working to improve my accuracy, fact-checking and proofing. I also will work on more focused time management, to better deliver a quality product to customers when they need it.

JIM DUNN, Opinion page editor: I resolve to regularly provide Opinion page readers with contact information about their elected government officials. I will create informational packages, to run weekly on a rotating basis, for federal, state, regional, and local officials. I’ll start this during the first quarter of 2013 so people can keep track of which government leaders to contact when they want to express their views on policy and legislation.

MARLA SEIDELL, special sections coordinator: I will continue working to increase local content in special sections and magazines.

KIRAN SOOD, news reporter: My resolution is to listen to all sides of the story when it comes to controversial matters and incorporate them fairly and evenly in stories. Matters dealing with money and taxes can get city residents agitated. My goal is to continue to listen to their concerns, find answers to their questions, and provide them with all the relevant information they need to know. I also want to hold leaders accountable for votes they make.

KAYLA HEIMERMAN, news reporter: I resolve to start a blog, unrelated to education, to flex my creative writing muscle, talk more personally with readers, and explore broader topics together.

DEREK BARICHELLO, news reporter: My resolution for 2013 is to “get the pulse of Dixon.” Since I’ve been here at Sauk Valley Media just 2 months, I am still learning the ins and outs of the city, but it is my goal by this time next year to say I am on top of all happenings and practicing a proactive journalism that sets the agenda.

THE PHOTO STAFF of Alex T. Paschal, Philip Marruffo and Michael Krabbenhoeft will strive even harder to provide the best visuals from the Sauk Valley’s local news, sports and features. We want our readers to feel like they were there right alongside us with our pictorial poetry. We will work for accuracy, creativity and completion.

JENNY YOUNG, feature writer and editorial assistant: Storytelling is my passion, and I believe everyone has a story to tell. In 2013, I want to be more creative in my search for potential stories, and encourage readers to share ideas with me.

ANGEL SIERRA, digital editor: I love to tell stories. In 2013, I want to be a better multimedia storyteller. I want you to see what I see, and bring you closer to the community of the Sauk Valley. Our community has unique and powerful stories; capturing them will be my goal.

CYNTHIA DAHL, Opinion page assistant: I would like to encourage our young readers that the Reader’s Voice is a great place to share their joys and concerns for their school, community, state and nation. Their concerns for their future are important to the well-being of our community, and I would like to see their voice in print. It’s also important for our young readers to know their joys can be shared.

CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN, assistant sports editor: To use a sports analogy – naturally – I want to become a better point guard. In my first year, I feel I did a nice job of putting up points as a shooting guard. Now that I’ve settled in and learned the staff’s strengths and weaknesses, I aim to do a better job of making those around me better. Whether it be helping them write cleaner, more concise copy, or tailoring projects to their passions and strengths, I want to better use my management position to help the guys flex their talents.

LARRY LOUGH, editor: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

’Nuff said.

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