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Should news media companies endorse political candidates?

Is the tradition of news outlets endorsing candidates useful to voters, or is it a signal of what type of coverage to expect from each outlet? Should this tradition continue?

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News outlets: arbiters of opinion, or investigators of truth?

In truth, endorsements matter primarily to the base of the party that is being endorsed, as it is obviously an honor to be endorsed by anyone, especially if the reasons for the endorsements are fair and factual. As far as swaying a vote, I am positive that endorsements have an affirming affect on the reader of the paper or viewer of the news if the outlet has any credibility, but I would posit that the moment that the media outlet endorses any candidate, it has lost credibility altogether.

In the grand scheme of things, news should be unbiased – journalism is simply designed to be a check and balance to power, to be informative, and at times educational, and any news outlet that adheres to these standards will always be well regarded. News outlets were never designed to segment themselves to 50 percent of a polarized electorate; it just doesn’t make sense to the bottom line.

In truth, many say that standing on principal matters, but in the bastion of Presidential politics, I personally don’t want to know where a paper stands. I want to know that I am getting fair carefully vetted facts, that the right questions are being asked, and that the checks and balances are in tact.

Do media endorsements matter?

So do newspaper or television news outlet endorsements matter? Yes. They tell the electorate that koolaid of their candidate of choice is available on a daily basis. It warns the electorate of the possibility of stories impacting their chosen candidates being buried on page six or nixed all together. It means to the reader that red meat is all they’ll get in order to make a healthy decision with their vote.

Newspapers alongside cable news should take a very hard look at this long-lived tradition and open an entirely new market to the balance of the electorate by not practicing this stale tradition. Giving 100 percent of the truth about 100 percent of all candidates, avoiding talking points of candidates, and delving deeper into each better serves the public in mass.

As an observer of media, and as part of the the institution, I for one, do not subscribe to the elitism displayed by media giants like the New York Times editorial board who does great harm and a horrible disservice to an electorate bombarded by ads in swing states, or worse, those not in swing states that are hungry for facts.

How long has it been since this President has given a real press conference? Check the papers, and check cable media, and you’ll be hard pressed to find the answer, much less demand for one, with only a few exceptions.

Ending the stale tradition of endorsements

I’m not interested in social journalism – that should be left to the people using social platforms to share information. Journalists should avoid the human need for popularity and go for the unbiased story rather than lower themselves to simple entertainment, and rather allow the reverse – allow the people to endorse news outlets. That’s how Big Media survives.

This electorate deserves more than what it’s getting and their media sales show it.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. lessherman

    November 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    “news outlets endorsing candidates” is elitist and worthless…. give me the facts of the issues (is THAT even possible from any news media?)

  2. kenbrand

    November 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Sadly, there’s no money or power or sex in funding, producing or broadcasting unbiased news.

  3. RobertaMurphy

    November 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    There has never been a greater need for unbiased and full reporting from our news media–and a clear line needs to be drawn between news and editorial writing.  Main stream media’s greatest loss is neither revenue nor eyeballs–it is trust.  The Fourth Estate, for the most part, has failed us miserably.

  4. ToddWaller

    November 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Benn Rosales Your point about the validity of media endorsements is ridiculously poignant. Allowing the media consumer to “see” an outlet’s political bend is priceless, when it comes to triangulating from the information the media outlet shares.With regards to an outlet eschewing the endorsement process and giving  “100 percent of the truth about 100 percent of all candidates,” that will take some hard work. Again, the media consumer has been conditioned to question and look for the bias in any “news reporting” that is done. Heck, we “jump at shadows” in movies and TV shows that have current event themes. Somehow, as consumers, we expect to have a message rammed into our entertainment and have become conditioned to ignore or respond to these biases in our entertainment.

  5. annarborrealtor

    November 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Well not to bring Realtor Pac’s into it but…I got two shinny, non environmentally friendly pieces in the mail from NAR and MAR. Through them in the trash, because I would NEVER vote for who they endorsed. I have not given to RPAC since that little committee was formed either. I think when I newspaper endorses it is like a feather in the cap to the candidate, but not sure it makes much difference. Bragging rights for a few days.

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  17. jamesleetn

    November 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Your last sentence pretty well sums it up: “This electorate deserves more than what it’s getting and their media sales show it.”

  18. RuthmarieGarciaHicks

    November 4, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Ok – I’m OLD!!! I can remember back to the dark ages of the late 70s and early 80s.  I was pretty young but my parents were news addicts and we always listened to news programs editorials and editorial responses together in the evening.  
     
    What was really interesting is that there was the “Equal Time Rule” and the “Fairness Doctrine”. There was no cable news and talk radio.  The likes of Cronkite differentiated between reporting the news and editorializing.  And they actually REPORTED the news and DUG for the information.  A marvelous example of this lost art can be seen in “All The President’s Men” about Woodward and Bernstein’s coverage of Watergate.  Investigative reporting – rightly – brought down a US President.  
     
    Imagine that happening today?  They might do it over rumor or innuendo and a nice sex scandal is always good – but real reporting is a thing of the past. 
     
    Some of the news is so biased – notably FOX and MSNBC – that no one can call what they do un-slanted, yet the lines are blurred particularly with respect to cable news stations.  I can watch these stations and successfully maneuver between fact from fallacy, but then I was raised to be super-aware.  Most people can’t.  I see otherwise very intelligent people foaming at the mouth over total nonsense that they heard on some of these “news stations”.  The general public can not seem to sift between fact and opinion. This is a problem because it can easily lead to an oligarchy where he who has the biggest bull horn can contort slanted opinion into fact through sheer repetition. Most people, busy with putting food on the table wil swallow opinion as fact and act and vote accordingly.  
     
    So back to your original question – I think that making the statement of who they are for or against might help the public understand that there IS a bias and WHERE the bias lies.  Its better than nothing since they are already in the bag for one candidate over another.

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Business News

How companies are embracing the gig economy to fight employee burnout

(BUSINESS NEWS) The gig economy has had plenty of ups and downs, but employers are using it to advantage their teams and the gig workers. It’s a pretty interesting model we’re watching evolve…

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If you’re an employer of a lot of people, it’s no secret that there are a lot of moving parts involved in the day-to-day processes of keeping the business going. You’ve got full-time employees, people earning both salary and hourly wages, part-time workers, and more than likely have used a staffing agency over the years to fill in the blanks.

Depending on your experience, some managers love working with temp agencies, while others aren’t the biggest fans. Like toppings on a hot dog, it all comes down to personal preference.

But, there’s one segment of the market that’s roaring – the gig economy.

While on the surface, it might seem simple (someone comes in and does a job and leaves), it’s a little deeper than that. Depending on the industry, there needs to be a more nuanced approach to solving how staffing issues are handled.

When you think of the gig economy, you’re probably thinking of Uber or GrubHub, but a whole world has opened up – you can get your car fixed in your driveway or hire movers to come and take boxes away. There are a lot of apps out there putting money in people’s pockets thanks to taking on tasks like food delivery but also working on a crew for a day or being hospitality staff for a corporate gig.

Many people love the gig economy because honestly, the Internet has democratized our lives so much that millions of workers would rather be their own bosses, which honestly works to the advantage of businesses as well.

First, there’s less demand for the business because if they need a specific job taken care of, they can bring in some ringers to bang out the job, collect their pay, and move on. For companies, this helps because they’re only paying a one-time fee versus keeping someone on staff and paying them annually.

The boom right now is applications connecting workers with businesses who need help.

Instead of the consumer being the end-user, the applications connect a worker with a temporary or sometimes long-term employer with a click.

And the process is simple – workers are in just as much control as the companies. The price point is established by the company and the hours and people they need, but the worker can set their skill level and availability. So, when there’s a match, everyone wins.

While some of the companies offering access into the space, provide workers with gigs for whatever length of time, some of them are even doubling down on retention, offering W-2s and full insurance for staying in the worker community so employers have a larger pool to choose from.

This model works because it incentives both parties: the worker gets to work on their terms and still receive benefits, and the company gets the staff they need for project work without the HR/taxes/risk.

Listen: That W-2 aspect is enormous. The reason being is if you’ve ever had to deal with a 1099, they’re the worst. Taking away the burden of taxes is a significant win for the worker, especially those of us who still have trouble figuring out, “should I claim one or zero?”

Because this model addresses a major staffing problem, concerning short-term help, it’s still very focused on the worker.

The aspect of flexibility is built into the fabric of the concept, considering the labor pool is what matters – you can have a bunch of open jobs, but you need qualified and motivated people to fill those roles. While this is a gig-working scenario, it’s also unique in that there’s less focus on the person performing an idealized task like delivering food, but rather jumping on a team to solve a problem or finish a job.

Basically, they’ve digitized the temporary staffing model but cut all of the ugly overhead and worker quality issues out.

They’re taking a labor market and connecting it with a consumer via an app on the iPhone. But, the consumer isn’t someone who needs a ride to the airport, it’s a company who needs help staffing a Pearl Jam concert in a stadium.

With the market evolving pretty much on the hour these days, there’s a clear through line at play – we’re seeing more and more businesses adopt gig workers, if even for the day.

It’s easier to bring someone in as a temp to help clear projects or just get things finished the regular staff is too busy to handle. One of the biggest pluses of the model is that it helps avoid employee burnout.

For a place like a hotel, if there are a bunch of small jobs that keep piling up, it’s easier to spend the cash for a day or two worth of work rather than add to an already overworked staff’s load.

It’s a new world that’s evolving every day, but with every swipe, tab, and click, we see the workforce develop in ways we could have never imagined just a few short years ago. If the future of work is now, imagining five years from now is mind-blowing.

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How to work with someone who’s a never-ending stress mess

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Working with, or around, people who seem to always be carrying stress can be detrimental to your health and theirs, here’s how to deal with them.

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My baseline level of anxiety is pretty high. I get stressed out if I forget to pack a fork in my lunch even though there are utensils at the office. If someone is mean to me, I get on edge. If I make a small mistake I’m probably going to carry it with me for a few hours.

Others may not exhibit stress unless they’re up against a tight deadline or coming from a difficult meeting, but it seems like they’re always inclined towards stress regardless of their schedules. While many people exhibit stress in understandable, fleeting situations, for some stress is a default setting. It can be difficult to work with someone who’s always stressed out.

When someone is perpetually stressed, it takes a toll on everyone else too. That energy can be toxic and leave you wondering if you should be helping or if your colleague is intentionally being a Debbie Downer.

For starters, don’t make a judgement call about your coworker. Everyone handles stress at different levels, and for some people that means not really handling stress at all.

You may be able to breeze through your day with minor frustrations while others are thrown off by the smallest thing.

Holly Weeks, author of Failure to Communicate, notes “Don’t think what can I do to change this person?” Instead, she suggests considering how to neutralizes the situation and move forward.

If you want to offer the most basic form of help, acknowledge what’s going on and offer a compliment. Even if it doesn’t seem like much is going on, simply letting your stressed colleague feel heard and appreciated can make an impact.

Author of How to Have a Good Day, Caroline Webb, explains stressed people are “feeling out of control, incompetent, and disrespected. A compliment is your easy way to help them get back to their better self.” Make sure you’re not enabling them by dragging out the situation, though.

Acknowledge, offer some praise, and try to move with the conversation.

Although it’s not necessarily in your job description to fix your coworkers problems, you can still offer support. You may not actually be able to do anything, but offering assistance gives the other person a chance to think through solutions.

Webb also suggests brainstorming way to “reduce their cognitive load,” to ease what’s making your coworker feel overwhelmed.

Some simple solutions include splitting requests into smaller steps, shortening emails, or dividing work into parts.

Ultimately the job needs to get done, but you can provide your coworker with more manageable means of accomplishing tasks by breaking things into chunks.

You can also check in on your coworker to find out if you should be concerned, or if their stress limited to the work environment. If their stress is beyond what you can reasonably handle with these de-escalation tips, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone about further steps to take.

Check out our mental health series for some more insight if you’re concerned your coworker’s problem may be more than regular stress.

Just like some people are easily stressed, some easily pick up on the negative feelings of others. Be aware of how your coworker’s stress is affecting you. If someone is truly draining you, try to get some distance.

While that may be difficult in a small office, Weeks recommends keeping in mind that out of all the “office characters…the stress case’s temperament [is] less of a problem” than others.

Ultimately, it’s not your responsibility to destress your coworker, but you can certainly make your work life a little easier if you take these steps to make for healthier, happier collaboration.

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Company offers extra vacation days to nonsmoker employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) A Japanese marketing company offers extra vacation days for nonsmoker employees who don’t utilize smoke breaks – sound good to you?

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Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a huge fan of “The Office” (I mean, who isn’t?) I spend a lot of time reflecting on the awesomeness of that show and the situations that characters go through at Dunder Mifflin.

One thing that always stuck with me was a scene where Kelly is talking about how she will take up smoking in order to get the 15 minute breaks throughout the day. This statement made me think about how odd it was that smokers got breaks throughout the day while nonsmokers stay inside, maybe taking a water cooler break.

Being from Chicago, I always thought the concept of smoke breaks was crazy, anyway. I remember visiting my dad at work as a kid and seeing people standing in the freezing cold, smoking outside of his building. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Chicago in the middle of January, but having to spend 15 extra minutes in that weather would be enough to make me stop smoking, cold turkey (pun intended).

All of these memories about the weirdness of smoke breaks came back today when I learned about Piala Inc., a Japanese marketing firm, and their new plan to give non-smokers six extra vacation days a year.

The policy was introduced in 2016 after employees complained about colleagues receiving multiple smoke breaks throughout the day. Since its implementation, 30 employees have taken advantage of the extra vacation days.

“One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems,” company spokesman, Hirotaka Matsushima, told The Telegraph. “Our CEO saw the comment and agreed, so we are giving non-smokers some extra time off to compensate.”

This is a great incentive for companies to offer employees. Not only in terms of equality, but would also be beneficial for a company’s health and wellness program.

While I’ve never fallen under the spell of nicotine, I would like to think that I’d prefer six extra days off compared to the habit of smoking. Apparently others are starting to feel this way as the company has reported that it has helped at least four people to stop smoking.

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