New Years Resolution: Improve yourself in 2012 and tell your story on

In 2012 SND will host a Year-Long Conversation about all things news design. The conversation will take place on the site and at various events around the world.

To kick start one part of that effort, we are on the hunt for five visual journalists who wish to take part in a 2012 experiment: We are looking for people who want to learn and improve themselves in the coming year and we want to document it.

If you are planning to learn new skills in the coming year, we want to follow your progress and share your journey on If you’re interested in sharing your journey with SND members and visitors to our site, please send the following information to Joe Greco by Friday, Dec. 30, 2011.

    Include this information

    • Name:
    • Age:
    • Title/employer:
    • City/state/country:
    • Skills sought:
    • What you hope to learn and why:
    • One paragraph on why you want to be part of this project:


Name: Wes Watson
Age: 32
Title/Employer: Special Projects Coordinator/Casper Star-Tribune
City/State/Country: Casper, Wyoming, United States
Skills sought: 3D animation, digital painting, better graphics/illustration storytelling

I actually began learning my new skills last year. This coming year will be about honing those skills. I have been learning Lightwave on my own and will be implementing what I’ve learned in that program into our product soon. I’ve also been learning Corel Painter; I’ve only used it fr backgrounds thus far but will be going much further this year. Hopefully I will purchase a new Wacom tablet soon for use with this program; I expect to break a lot of new ground for myself when that happens. Additionally, I have devised what I believe to be a very ambitious plan for myself this year based on creating 12 high-level graphics projects in 2012. They will range from traditional illustration all the way to 3D design. Roughly half of those are firmly in the planning stages already. I’ll be collaborating with several writers in our newsroom, as to incorporate many beats in this yearlong project. Many of these stories are ones I have campaigned for in years past, but did not have the skills to pull off. I think at the Star-Tribune, the time is right. We as a team are functioning at our highest level. It takes years for all these elements to come into focus in this way, so I’m really excited. The story list so far is amazing, and we have an upper management team that is willing to extend enough leash to allow us to do this.

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