Well, in just a few days, we’ll say farewell to 2022 and ring in 2023. ‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions — those goals we set for ourselves in late December and have often forgotten by mid-January. As the editor of the Choteau Acantha for the past 32 years (it’ll be 33 in July), I’ve made (and broken) lots of New Year’s resolutions over the years. Most of my resolutions involve diet and exercise — as in I will lose 10 pounds and keep it off. And, I will exercise 420 minutes a week and log 1,000 miles of running. Some have touched on housework: I will vacuum and dust and clean all the bathrooms weekly at home and at the office. Others have involved budgeting: I will set a budget for groceries and other household expenses and stick to it. I’ll cook more meals at home and cut down on take-out or eat-out. Yet others involve self-improvement: I’ll practice my clarinet six hours a week, and I’ll read “important literature or nonfiction” before I allow myself the guilty pleasure of an urban fantasy or a murder mystery.
This year, at the ripe middle age of 56 (57 in 18 days), I’m feeling less inclined to come up with New Year’s resolutions that I can’t or won’t keep. (Don’t get me wrong! I’m still aiming to lose weight and exercise more, I’m just not making it “official.”)
Instead, I’m thinking about resolutions I can make as the editor of the Acantha, things I can motivate myself to do that will make this newspaper better and more valuable to our readers. Here are three resolutions — or more accurately stated goals — for 2023 that I hope to accomplish:
1. I want to redesign the newspaper. It’s been years since Jeff and I have changed up the design elements of this paper. Just as clothing comes in and out of style, so do type fonts and design elements in the publishing world. I know we’re going to accomplish this goal because Jeff and I are contracting with a consultant to bring a fresh new look to the Acantha that should roll out sometime this spring. We are very excited for this project and are looking forward to premiering the new look for you, our readers and advertisers.
2. I want to incorporate more agricultural coverage in the Acantha. Covering agriculture is a tough deal here, even though it’s our county’s No. 1 industry. Lots of farmers and ranchers are private people who aren’t thrilled to share when I call them up and ask questions about yields, sale weights, irrigation water (or the lack thereof). But that’s no excuse. I want to do a better job of covering this vital industry, and I’m going to be aiming for at least one ag-based article every three weeks. Readers are encouraged to send me suggestions for stories.
3. I want to reinvigorate the editorial page. To that end, I want to bring back an active editorial board to help me and Jeff come up with editorial topics. If you’re active in the community, a registered voter and keep up-to-date on local state and national news, I’d love to have you serve with me. I’m going to be looking for two citizens who can meet with me once a week to brainstorm ideas about editorials that point out problems and then make suggestions for answers. These weekly meetings would be at my office and during the working day. I’d also invite any of our readers to email me with suggestions for editorials they would like to see written.
Well, that’s what I’m going to be focusing on in 2023. I hope you all set goals and that 2023 brings you and your families health, joy and success. — Melody Martinsen