New year brings new job and new opportunities

posted Jan. 9, 2018 7:19 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Brooke Bechen, Regional Editor |

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Many people start off a new year with resolutions. I’ve never been one to stick to the old “lose 20 pounds” or “spend less time on my phone.” I’ve always seemed to focus on resolutions as they pertain to my job, with last year’s resolutions to improve social media presence, learn more about my camera and increase subscriptions in a certain circulation area.

But this year will be different.

This year, I am starting a new job. I’m trading in city council meetings for conventions, swapping school activities for seminars and searching for all things that make rural Wisconsin special. I know it will be a change, but I am certainly up for the challenge.

I’ve always had a knack for writing. I wrote a lot of short stories when I was younger, and often wondered if I’d make a good author. I started writing a book about a girl who was shipped to her relative’s farm after a particular bout of bad luck, but 100 pages into writing it, I realized it was going to take forever.

Luckily, soon after, I discovered there was such thing as a weekly deadline.

In high school, I was the only person I knew that wanted to be a journalist. My friends all had other aspirations, and my siblings ventured down career paths in nursing and accounting. I’d been told making it in the newspaper world was tough, but I had a little burning flame of passion that pushed me to head to college and earn that degree in journalism.

I graduated from UW-Platteville in May 2012 and settled into my first job as a reporter at The Dodgeville Chronicle, a small community newspaper in the town I grew up in. I started covering local government and learning a lot about the community that I didn’t know before. At meetings, I’d often wonder if others knew what was just shared. I found myself using the skills I learned to inform readers of the ins and outs of their city councils, school boards, town boards and more. And because of this, there will always be a need for the community newspaper — I truly do believe that.

Everyone has a story, and I realized that very quickly. There are lots of interesting people in Iowa County, and I had the pleasure of meeting many of them. Artists, farmers, veterinarians, chefs, teachers, pilots ... the list could go on. Whenever I got down on myself or the job, I’d always think of them.

Now I’m thinking about all the interesting people, places and events in the 20 counties I’m responsible for in my new role as the southern Wisconsin regional editor. Wow!

This new year will bring new opportunities for me to learn more about the world of agriculture and grow as a journalist at the same time. I can’t wait to meet all of you and explore what our beautiful state has to offer.

This year, my resolution will be to have fun and enjoy the ride. I’m so glad to be on board.

Brooke Bechen covers news and writes features in southern Wisconsin. She can be reached at

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