Shifting the focus to others in 2017

If I could change one thing about myself in 2017, it’s my focus.

From day to day, I have been primarily focused on advancing my own goals as an editor and journalist. In 2017, that’s coming to an end.

I spent a week earlier this year at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies discussing the importance of building up others. The idea of developing your staff and putting the goals of your staff ahead of yourself, per the media professionals and faculty on hand, was the primary catalyst for becoming a strong newsroom leader.

At Poynter, it was apparent to me that staff development had been something that I had paid very little attention to as I focused on video, innovation and different storytelling methods. That’s all good and dandy, but it doesn’t help build cohesion and it doesn’t make people stretch. That’s what I’m interested in going forward. The fruits of that labor, I hope, will mean more dynamic projects and more personal satisfaction from everyone in my newsroom.

What will be key to fulfilling this mission is getting to understand everyone’s goals. I’ve been cheating by working on my resolutions since early December, gathering as much information as possible on the hopes and dreams of my colleagues with the explicit understanding of helping them achieve their ambitions. I can’t think of anything more important right now than helping them get to where they want to be because our goals in the industry are ultimately aligned.

So, in 2017, my focus will shift to others and by the end of the year, I hope, those closest to me in the newsroom will have advanced or realized some of their goals.

Resolutions for 2016


Here we are getting ready to commence with 2016 and all I can think about is what a year 2015 was.

At the end of 2014, I went from a digital only outlet at to FOX25 where I was the manager of web content. It was a bizarre experience for someone like myself who has always been tied to a newspaper. To be bound by the restrictions of the TV newsgathering process was actually an incredible learning experience. I was able to drive digital strategy and performance while gaining the perspective of a TV station’s digital road map. I was honored to help boost FOX25 during a period of transition as the new year kicked in.

I was honored to be a part of the team to accept the APME/ASNE Innovator of the Year award for the Boston Herald.
I was honored to be a part of the team to accept the APME/ASNE Innovator of the Year award for the Boston Herald.

Here I am now at the Boston Herald, serving as its new deputy managing editor for news and multimedia, a new position for the Herald and another opportunity for me to lead and strategize for the future. That’s something I don’t take lightly. There’s an incredible urgency to do well. The beauty of the Herald is that there is buy-in from the staff to tweak, change and re-direct, all with the aim of doing the best job possible. As my colleague Joe Dwinell likes to say, the great thing about the Herald is that things move fast. That’s what has taken my focus and energy for the second half of 2015.

Now, as the hours draw down for this year, I’m reflecting on what we’ve been able to accomplish. I’m sizing up all the things we did well, what we did marginally well and where we failed, the last of which is most important to me and how I will judge our efforts. In that sense, I’m looking at how I’ve spent my time, our efficiency and our hopes for the future. That’s what I’m consumed by.


At the same time, I have had an extraordinary year with my family. My only resolution from 2015 was to spend more time with family members, which I’m proud to say I was able to accomplish after using all of my allotted vacation time. I’ve watched Jalil grow from an infant to a toddler. His hair is as wild as ever and his curiosity inspires me. I’m in love watching him grow up. Claudia is as beautiful as ever and has become a gracious mother. I can’t thank her enough for her patience as I transitioned from one job to the next. And for all of my family back in San Francisco, I was able to re-connect at my grandmother’s 90th birthday anniversary. But I know I need to do more on both fronts.

My family in San Francisco.
My family in San Francisco.

In 2016, I want to maintain the momentum I’ve enjoyed at work and at home. That will take a continued effort to create balance. But I have specific goals as well, some of which fall into the form of “traditional” resolutions:

  1. As I said on the last episode of NewsFeed (my show on Boston Herald Radio, for those that don’t know) this year, I want to read to Jalil every night. He’s at an age right now where he needs to hear as many words as possible. And I want to instill in him the joy that comes from reading that his mother and I share.
  2. I also want to save at least 15 percent of my salary. I’ve already got Jalil’s college fund going and the house fund is there, but I’m thinking about retirement now as well. There’s a lot I need to be prudent about to make that happen. So part of this resolution is to spend less frivolously with the hope that I’ll maintain my benchmarks for the end of the year.
  3. And I want to be better at calling my family back home. They need to hear from Jalil and I a lot more than they do. I admit to being terrible about making calls during holidays and special occasions. So part of that is setting out time each week just for phone calls.

Of course, this doesn’t take away from the fact that I want to work out more, become a better manager at work, give more of my time to service organizations, read as much as possible and improve on myself as a man. But I think those goals are good for every year. In 2016, I’m trying to start habits that will benefit my family and I for the rest of our lives. I can’t think of another way to approach resolutions right now.

I’m thankful for 2015 and look forward to what’s next. My plan is in place. What’s yours?

Happy New Year! Resolution(s) for 2015

Happy New Year’s friends, family, and strangers on the internet. May peace and blessings find you in 2015.

I fear, much like I did at the start of 2014, that I may not be able to exceed the level of joy I experienced in the coming year. With the birth of my son, Jalil, and the new job at WFXT FOX 25 News, 2014 was a year of dramatic change for the Berrys.

And with the changes I’ve experienced, both of which have made wholesale differences in my personal and professional life, I see a greater shift in my New Year’s resolutions, which I proudly post in this space each year.

(To the pessimist, I say, endear yourselves to those that are goal-oriented and who engage in the New Year’s resolutions ritual. They are, in my view, openly optimistic about self-betterment, which characterizes strong moral fiber. Ernest Hemingway wrote: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”)

It’s not that I don’t want to continue to write for myself. (I hate the fact that I haven’t written on this site since Dec. 7, Jalil’s birthday.) Or that I don’t want to work out. I’m always striving to be more consistent – as a writer, editor, and online manager – and improve upon myself each day. That’s my obligation to the myself and those that look up to me. But I see in these changes an opportunity to focus on others. However important it may be to put focus on myself, in terms of self-betterment, Jalil’s presence demands that my priorities change, even if just slightly.

So this may sound lame or corny even, but it actually reflects how I feel: In 2015, I want to focus more on my family.

With Jalil and Claudia, the Berrys now have a whole team on the east coast. I want to make sure as much as possible our family is strong and stable. For me, that means being both a provider and a steward. This year, with this new role as a father, I see nothing as more important. So while I resolve myself to focus on my writing, my personal health, and professional development each year, this year I will add yet another important and intangible goal, one I believe will also be among my New Year’s resolutions for the rest of my life.

So, what’s your New Year’s resolutions?

Not sure how 2014 can be better than my last year, but I will resolve to improve

To all my family, friends, and readers, Happy New Year’s.

This is one of my favorite times of year because many folks like myself bound themselves to resolutions with the hopes of bettering their lives, their bodies, their situation, or all of the above. I love that. I love the goal-oriented among us. I strive to be goal-oriented every day. That’s what drives me to get out of the bed. To win the day, so to speak.

Claudia and I celebrating the New Year. [/caption]This year is no different. I have my resolutions, which I’ve shared in this space since 2008. But when thinking about what I’m trying to accomplish, I have to stop and grade myself. How did I do in 2013? Pretty fantastic actually.

For my wedding (which was awesome), I resolved to lose 15 pounds to get under 200. I hit 196 in early July, with just enough time to spare for the nuptials July 6.

I also resolved to get a side hustle and was able to do that with some sporadic freelance assignments. Sporadic was better than nothing, which I’m thankful for.

Lastly, I resolved to be quite a bit more responsible with my cash flow. It was a wedding necessity. Thankfully, I was able to save more than enough money to deal with all of the costs associated with a ceremony thousands of miles away. And, by doing so, I was able to give a special gift back to the family with Claudia.

This year, I have a couple of specific goals I want to achieve. Here’s what I plan to knock out:

1. Get healthy again — Football season has been ruinous for my workout regimen. It’s messed up my whole sense of what to do on days off, what to attempt during work hours, and what to do on travel days. If there’s one thing I know about working out, there has to be some regularity. So my goal is to find regularity — after the football season. And when it’s over, hopefully the new workout schedule will transfer over during the fall of 2014. That’ll be my test.

2. Lose 20 pounds in three months — The clock starts Monday Feb. 4, the day after the Super Bowl. Deadline is April 28.

3. Drop some responsibilities — You ever have that feeling that you have all these things to do and absolutely nobody cares? Yeah, that’s how I feel some days. That’s when you know it’s time to re-prioritize. And there’s no better time than right now.

4. Something new

Claudia wants to go to Australia. We’ll see if it’s meant to be. I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt and she has a sister staying in Dubai right now. There’s also the matter of the World Cup in Brasil, although I’ve been there before, and South Africa seems tempting. So there are some options to consider. We’ll see.

What do you have in store for 2014? Anything new or different? Did you stick to your resolutions in 2013? Let me know.

Resolute this, twenty thirteen

Claudia and I before we ring in the new year.
Claudia and I before we bring in the new year.
I love New Year’s. It’s one of my favorite holidays, giving me both the time to reflect and look forward. And yes, that means New Year’s resolutions — again!

Yesterday I was telling Claudia that I put New Year’s right up there with Thanksgiving and Fourth of July. They’re all good holidays that bring family and friends together around something that has nothing to do with purchasing power, yet still have a communal purpose in which to celebrate. And I love the resolutions. As I’ve said before here in this space, resolutions are goals not meant to erase away what has been done the past 12 months, but a guide for the next dozen.

Since 2008, I’ve been sharing my NYE resolutions right here. And this year is no different. I’ve got a few things that I want to accomplish. The idea is to be as specific as possible with actionable items.

So, for instance, last night when I was going around the room at a New Year’s Eve party, instead of telling folks that I wanted to lose weight, I told them 1) I wanted to lose 14 or 15 pounds. I’m trying to get under 200 and I want to look beach-tastic for my wedding. Right there I got my specificity and a deadline.

But that’s only goal No. 1. Here are the others:

2) Find a side hustle — Right now, my only hustle is writing. That’s good and all that, but sometimes you need to have something else to fall back on. For those that have followed me from the beginning, this sounds eerily familiar to my 2009 resolution to have a journalism backup plan. So to advance on that, I’ll be seeking out an added skill to make some moola in the near future. And hopefully I’ll have that wrapped up by the summer.

3) Be disciplined with my cash flow — I have a ton of saving I need to do for this wedding and it’s imperative that I am disciplined with my money. It would probably help to not have any car emergencies for the next seventh months either. You know, because things happen. They just don’t need to happen for the next seven months … maybe eight, depending on how things go down in Cancun.

Anyways, those are my resolutions. It’s a short list this year, but one I’m intently focused on. I’m pumped about 2013 and what the new year will bring.

What are your resolutions? What are you looking forward to this year? Let me know.

I hope you had a happy new year. I know I did. Cheers.

In 2012, I wanna go 12 times harder

Goals, goals, goals. That’s what resolutions are. They are not a means to excuse or erase away behavior from the past 12 months, but a means to guide ourselves going forward to becoming better people for ourselves. That’s how I view my New Year’s resolutions, a yearly opportunity to re-focus my attention on ways to better myself as a human being.

I despise critics who are against such things. Their contrarian view is out of touch with the basic sentiment implied. They’re the assholes totally against Thanksgiving because it’s not every day of the year.

But I digress, that’s not why I’m writing today. I’m writing to continue my tradition of sharing my NYE resolutions, something I’ve done since 2008 on this site. Last year I wrote from Madrid, continuing an ongoing resolution to travel more. In 2010 I wrote about working out daily — something I’ve never been able to achieve, but try very hard to do — and in 2009 I wrote about my seven resolutions, including writing more for myself. I continue to do that here on my site.

Today, on the last day of 2011, I’m looking at 2012 as an opportunity to push harder than I ever have in terms of writing, working out and being awesome. I’m ambitious, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, and I’m done putting up with a lot of the crap that’s been thrown my way. In 2012, I expect to cuss out a number of people — colleagues and friends included. I see myself finally starting to freelance some of my writing, something I’ve hesitated to do because of my allegiance to the Boston Globe. And I definitely see myself in the gym often, something on my mind every day.

I don’t know what’s changed in particular with me after this year. Maybe it was the comments on a blog I wrote that told me, in the not-so-nicest way possible, that I was wrong when I was oh so right. Maybe it was the colleague that told me I had no idea what I was talking about, marking once again the lack of professionalism I deal with and his unremarkable judgement. Maybe it was the friend who flipped on me and is utterly unrecognizable. I could go on. But these reasons and more have ingrained in me a strong attitude of disdain for the stupid that wasn’t there before. I’m still positive and optimistic, traits I’m thankful for, but I’m done with the bullshit. In 2012, much like the latter part of 2011, I’m going hard. No apologies.

It’s go time for Zuri. Yeah, third person and all that.

Feliz año nuevo

Plaza Mayor
Outside of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid Spain, Jan. 4, 2011. Photo by yours truly.

MADRID — I haven’t been on the computer much so you’ll have to forgive my tardiness, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year’s from Madrid.

I’m on vacation hanging with my friend Mando who is here to teach English, a major initiative for the Spanish government. Along with his girlfriend Ashley, as well as our close friend Nicole, I had a huge reason to come overseas. It’s been a good opportunity to reminisce as well as be a tourist. And, of course, bring in the new year.

But before I get into the sights and sounds of Espana (much like I did with Brasil), I wanted to relay my New Year’s resolutions. I do this every year here. And I would be remiss if I didn’t continue the tradition. It’s very important to me.

  1. Write more — I put this down every year. But the feeling is always the same. I’m either not writing enough or not writing enough for myself. After 13 and a half months in Boston, I’ve penned only 15 articles in the newspaper while authoring close to 300 blog posts. (That includes posts I merely edited.) Add in more than 100 videos I’ve produced and you can tell how my priorities have shifted since leaving California. So yeah, my mind is always on writing more and spending more time creating content, being creative and contributing to the news hole. But there’s always some time and effort that needs to be put in here on Gotta tend to my own business too, ya know.
  2. Be a better man — It’s very important to me to be a man of integrity. There have been times, both personally and professionally, my integrity has been questioned. I like to think that I’ve come out better each and every time. But I’m positive I can do better. I want to be at a point where what kind of person I am, is never questioned. Sounds easy, but it’s not. I’d elaborate, but then I’d be writing a book.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? How did you live it up for ’11’s opening. I’d like to open this conversation up to friends, colleagues (old and new) and strangers. Holla.

Keeping it simple in 2010

First of all, I’ve been warned: It’s “twenty ten.” Not “two thousand ten.”

Be cool, and just accept this.

Second, I did have a couple of New Year’s resolutions I’d like to share:

  1. Blog the effin’ crap outta — I’ve amped up the potential of the site with a redesign, utilizing Arras Theme, and I’m hoping that with a new look the site will have a totally different feel for the new year. This continues what I started a long time ago with last year’s resolutions and prior goals.
  2. Continue reading “Keeping it simple in 2010”

Seven resolutions for 2009

If you don’t have resolutions, it’s cool. I like to make resolutions every year. Makes me feel goal-oriented. Or something cool like that. Anyways, if you’re not into that, no worries. You’re probably one of those cynics I worry about.

For 2009, I made seven resolutions, each addressing a particular portion of my life. But the real reason I chose seven was because that’s how many days it was till NYE from Christmas (I know, just like last year) and that’s when I started thinking about it.

Without further ado:

1) Write more for myself — I can’t stress this enough. I spend a lot of time worrying about stories for my job and finding stories for my job but I need to start developing a story for myself. This book isn’t gonna write itself. These blogs aren’t going to write themselves. (I’m up to four now.) I’ve still got to develop my voice and build my stature. I can’t do that with my mind elsewhere all the time.

Took this flick on a recent trip back to San Francisco.
Took this flick on a recent trip back to San Francisco.

2) Take more pictures — I sort of initiated this before the new year. I need more projects and more reasons to pull out the camera and flickr away. It feels good and I love the beauty I capture. You should try it too. I’ll be in Brazil next month, getting a new camera for the trip, and I’ll be snapping away for sure. (Expect video too.)

3) Make a journalism backup plan — Yeah, I’m dedicated to the industry. But I’m not so sure the industry is dedicated to me. So I see no wrong in having a backup plan. If you’re industry lost an estimated 15,000 jobs in one year, another 300 or so in 2009, I’d tell you to get an exit plan asap. It’s just the nature of the beast.

4) Travel more — Isn’t it fun to get out of your little bubble every now and then. And I don’t just mean get out of the bubble to get to Vegas for your annual buddy mashup. I mean to see some place totally new to you, one that will challenge your perceptions. That’s what I plan to do. See new places, challenge my perspective and hopefully have fun. Brazil, here I come.

5) Take women more seriously — Let’s just say that as things have gone, nothing is going to last with the way I’m acting. Time to step my game up.

6) Forgive those that want to be forgiven and let go of all hate — I can’t hold onto grudges. It’s just not me. And I don’t think it’s healthy either. Look, there’s a lot of people in the world that deserve to be hated for reasons I don’t want to get into. It’s very easy to hate people. It’s like a tribal instinct and reaction to things of dislike or distrust. What’s not so easy, is to see beyond your reason of dislike and distrust, recognize your differences of thought and spirit, and get beyond your conflicts. That’s much harder, but I think much more enriching.

7) Be more positive — If there is one thing I want to do, that’s more important than all others, it’s to be positive no matter the situation and to never get rattled. There’s a lot to worry about nowadays, with the economy as it is and the industry in transition. There’s more to worry about with the state of the world, conflict in the middle east, two wars and less cash in the pocket. Don’t worry, I won’t let any of it get me down. I’m counting my blessings in 2009. And guess what? I’m more happy because of it.