Saturday, March 31, 2012

"I am not paid for this"

I recall one of the worst experiences in my past student life. It was when one visiting lecturer who gave a course got the question from one student in the class on whether it would be possible to arrange a separate tutorial session for those who wanted to learn material more in-depth.

"I am not paid for this, sorry", was his answer. In front of around 100-150 students present in that class.

Another similar experience comes from a corporate world. I asked one person who was going off to (unpaid) vacation whether he would occasionally be checking his email while being out of the office.

"No, I am not paid for this", was his answer. This person was coming back from vacation to his working place after a while.

What is my problem with that kind of answers? They had totally right - they were not paid for doing the things they were asked for, did they?

However, such answers immediately indicate that a person is doing the job only for money, he does not have an interest in you (as a student/client/co-worker) whatsoever. A person puts himself in a position of a reflective employee who is given orders and thereafter gets a carrot if he fulfils the order. No proactivity. No initiative. No dedication.

I must admit that certain degree of "you-pay-me-and-only-then-I-will-give-you-a-service-
mentality" is beneficial in a capitalist society. But it can at least be communicated in a more gentle manner.

P.S. I am not paid to write this blog. Hmmm...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

My media habits - distingushing between new insights and trash

I have developed certain enduring practices of following media during past 2-3 years. It would be interesting to describe it now and compare it with what it will be in 10 or 20 years...

As for now, I believe I managed to build routines which allow me to stay connected to what happens around, but - on the other hand - not to spend time on stuff which does not bring any value. My work experience as a reporter in different media channels as well as attended journalism studies some years ago have certainly helped me to differentiate between worthwhile sources and - putting it simply - bullshit.

Online newspapers - as a representative of younger generation I obviously often read news on the Internet. However, I do it only once a day, spending between 15 and 30 minutes a day for scanning through the front pages of selected news channels and clicking on the articles I am most interested in. This is mostly to get the overview. Here are some principles I use:
  • I rarely read articles in-depth, as I don't want to spend even more time in front of the PC (I do it a lot during the working hours anyway) - and one can quickly grasp the essence by scanning through an article.
  • I rarely read online newspapers during the weekend. I prefer not to distract my life with everyday news during some days. At the same time - as I know - the journalists work much less during the weekends - and it is usually junior editors being responsible for updating the content then. Thus, it is hard to expect that much quality in news reports during the weekends.
  • I very rarely read the readers' comments. I have an impression that people who write the comments to the articles are those who have too much free time. Having too much free time doesn't for me belong to the signs of a successful person who knows what to do with his/her life. Do I want to read "insights" from bunch of people like that? Normally not. Besides, it is most often biased criticism or whining.
These are the media channels I follow on the regular basis:
postimees.ee (the largest general news channel in Estonia)
epl.ee (the second-largest general news channel in Estonia)
e24.ee (the business news portal in Estonia)
aftenposten.no (the largest general news channel in Norway)
bbc.co.uk (well known British-based international news channel)

These are the media channels that I follow less regularly (around once a week or once in 2-3 weeks):
dn.no (business news portal in Norway)
aripaev.ee (business news portal in Estonia)
dw.de (general news portal in Germany)
Few news portals from Kazakhstan and Russia

Radio podcasts - this is something I am a big fan of. An excellent way to listen to what you want and when you want it. On the way to the office or back home, when preparing breakfast or cooking dinner - I fill these moments of the day with something for my mind as well. This is my main source of current analytical information, debates, interviews and so on. Here is the list of podcasts I download once a week in order to listen to them when I want:
  • Raadio Kuku - by far the best serious radio station in Estonia. Several political and society commentary as well as business analysis and IT-related podcasts. In addition, some history.
  • Raadio 2 - youthful public radio station in Estonia where I subscribe to one podcast only ("Olukorrast riigist") - summary of the most important news and events in Estonia during the week.
  • NRK P2 - the most serious Norwegian public radio broadcast. I subscribe mainly to political and societal podcasts as well as radio documentaries. Unfortunately, business and economics are very poorly represented in Norwegian radio.
  • Sveriges Radio - Swedish public broadcast. Here I am mainly interested in economy.
  • 8 sidor - easily-read news in Swedish (since my comprehension of Swedish is not at all perfect, it is good to train it with simpler language).
  • dw.de - German public broadcasting. Economy and business podcasts are the most interesting for me here.
  • bbc.co.uk - BBC has very good podcasts on business and economy as well as radio documentaries.

Press: newspapers and magazines on paper - mainly too much paper to waste, although I will probably subscribe to selected weekly media and business press in the future.

Radio - I don't listen to radio as such. I don't like when someone else decides for me what and when I should listen to, mixing it all with occasional music that I don't necessarily like and with news that I am not necessarily interested in.

TV - I am happy not-owner of a TV-set. Having briefly worked there and having studied it at the university helped me to realize that 90% of content there is bullshit. Entertainment shows, series, sitcoms, reality shows and other trash that is created just for one purpose - to keep you watch the same commercials over and over again. All this trash is created quite skilfully - playing with human's psychology - so that you are waiting for the next episode, next big movie, next show with a sexy TV-presenter you like and so on and so forth.

How about the other 10% - news, good documentaries, occasional good films, insightful TV debates? Well, there is YouTube and other modern tools for that. I can choose what I watch and when I watch it myself - and not being dependent on what some smart-asses in TV editorial boards have decided to.

...well, let's see what will be my personal media field in some decades...
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