Goal Setting

There are three key elements to advancing through the Digital Ninja School process.

1. Spend time learning about and mastering the “Core Requirements” and at least five electives in each belt.

2. Apply the new skills you learn to your job, and share your success stories on this site.

3. Set goals around the results you hope to see for yourself when starting work on a belt, and measure your progress.

What do we mean by “goals?” It can depend a lot on where you are at in knowledge about a topic to start, or how much you are already incorporating these skills into your job. Ultimately, you’ll need to agree with your supervisor on what goals you should set for yourself and how they’ll be measured.

But to get you started, here’s some examples of concrete goals a Digital Ninja School student might pursue as part of the process of earning a belt:

Digital Publish

– Follow the “story as a process” principle on an important topic on your beat. Engage with readers starting when the idea first turns into a story assignment, and then publish and engage continuously as you get more updates throughout the day.

– Increase the average number of page views your stories receive by a certain amount.

Social Media

– Increase your following on Twitter, Facebook or similar social networks.

– Successfully use social media (through relationships you build, crowdsourcing efforts, or through search functions on a specific topic) to find story ideas or sources that contribute directly to your journalism.


– Launch and grow a blog related to your beat, and/or significantly grow engagement and traffic on one that you already write.


– Increase the number of videos you produce by a certain amount, and/or the average number of views that your videos receive.

Data Journalism

– Use an FOIA request and database creation to uncover and present a story on your beat in a new way.


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