Of newspapers and resolutions

Published 10:51 am Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year is the worst time of the year at the gym. I remember it well, back when I was in shape. The other gym regulars would get snooty when the new crop, fresh off making a resolution, would join.

It never bothered me too much, except when I was at college, and the wait lines would become impossible at the campus gym. So I made a resolution to work out at home. While in college, instead of a freshman 15, I gained 35 pounds during my junior year.

I resolved that I would lose those pounds again during my senior year, but with my honors college thesis and general senioritis, it never happened.

Then I moved here, and I quickly discovered that the amount of sugar that this office produces in the form of cakes and cookies for one another could kill a small child. Somewhere between the start of my senior year of college, and by about September of working here, I had dropped back into the 190s. Now, at 6-foot tall, with my frame, 195 isn’t ideal. Another 15-25 pounds could stand to be lost. But it was a far cry from the 220-pounder I had become during college.

Unfortunately, I’ve put on a freshman 15 during my first year at The Tidewater News, and have made it back to 210. The holiday season is not fully over, however, so the damage could get worse.

I’m not going to resolve to lose weight, nor am I going to join a gym, instead, I’m going to work on my attitude, so that exercise isn’t the first thing to go when life gets too busy. It inevitably will.

But if you do join a gym, don’t let the regulars scare you away. Some of them probably even joined on resolutions in years past and became part of the culture. You can too.

Resolutions have never been a big part of my life. After having seen them fail time and time again with my family members, I figured the new year was the ultimate Monday. You know, there are always things you want to do better, like learn a language, eat better, or for me, go to sleep at night so that waking up in the morning is better. And it’s always easy to say, ‘I’ll start it next week.’ It makes you feel better in that moment, and by next week nothing really changes, or after a minimum effort the regular routine returns.

New Year seemed like the ultimate expression of that thought.

That said, there are things I’d like to do better in the upcoming year with the newspaper.

We’ve been trying to do some different things with design in the past few weeks. We’re also working on a redesign that I was hoping could debut at the beginning of the year, but that will have to wait a little longer.

Then there is my email. I get an unholy amount of emails every day. I’ve got to organize it better, and spend a little more time on it with my workflow, so that I can be a little better in responding to people. People don’t care about excuses when something gets left out because a person gets too many emails from others. And frankly, I wouldn’t care either.

Sports is another aspect that I’d like to do a better job on. When I first got here, the golf season was almost completely finished before a golf story appeared in The Tidewater News.

That was my fault because there wasn’t a system in place and I didn’t think about it until a coach called me. Volleyball was a little better, but not much. Despite some hick-ups, football season went by pretty good. Basketball has gone better than volleyball — but it could still be a lot better. So while I believe it has improved, it could still be better and more regularly updated.

The biggest thing is making more time for investigative reporting. I feel like Western Tidewater has responded pretty well when we’ve done these stories. Unfortunately, we haven’t done enough of them.

The ideas have been there, it’s just a matter of carving out the time, and I’d like to see me figure out a way to do that.

And most importantly, I hope to avoid some of the sugar produced for this office.

CAIN MADDEN is the Managing Editor of The Tidewater News. He hopes he can accomplish these things without another freshman 15. He can be reached at 562-3187 or cain.madden@tidewaternews.com.