MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “quality”

Maintaining excitement in a habit

https://www.google.gr/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwallpaperswide.com%2Fdownload%2Fsunshine_ocean-wallpaper-1920x1080.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwallpaperswide.com%2Fsunshine_ocean-wallpapers.html&docid=WNfqtZR1VjNxJM&tbnid=373bY1gb-WukrM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwiQ7-L17brUAhXDtBQKHXF2D9o4ZBAzCD4oPDA8..i&w=1920&h=1080&bih=554&biw=1252&q=sunshine&ved=0ahUKEwiQ7-L17brUAhXDtBQKHXF2D9o4ZBAzCD4oPDA8&iact=mrc&uact=8#h=1080&imgdii=kuvntzjULNNgWM:&vet=10ahUKEwiQ7-L17brUAhXDtBQKHXF2D9o4ZBAzCD4oPDA8..i&w=1920We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”, said Aristotle. As such, the quality of the life we live is found in something we do routinely. Without thinking, without pondering too much over it.

Consider this: the majority of the things we do every day is simply habit: the ‘good morning’ and ‘good evening’ greetings we exchange; checking the mailbox when we leave/enter our house; even checking-in on social media or taking a daily selfie. They are all things we do often unconsciously. Things that we find natural.

Entrepreneur Jim Rohn said that “motivation is what gets you going. Habit is what keeps you there”. Having a healthy breakfast; working out often; reading a book once in a while; devoting time to rest and de-stress – they are all things we include in our lives after we do them over and over again.

But the one thing about a habit is that often – even the things we say – occur so automatically they sometimes lose their very essence. We need to ensure that we still mean what we say, no matter how many times we utter it; that we are still as excited as the first time we go on a run; that the breakfast we eat every day is as tasty as the first time we had it. If we can keep that excitement, enthusiasm and enthrallment alive, we have found the road to happiness. Even if staying on that road has become a habit.

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The Journalistic Hunger Games

460475_journalismA taxi driver on our way to my destination one day told me that “journalism is a dirty job”. He said that journalists today must be “part of the system in order to succeed – to say one thing, think another, and do another. They are disgraceful”. And I was left wondering since when this occupation – one of the most wonderful and most important there are, ended up being thought of as inferior, non-profitable and “dirty”.

A graffiti in an EU country stated that a democracy is only as good as its journalists. Yet today almost everyone agrees that journalism worldwide has deteriorated. And this is not only due to the rise of social media, blogs and the widespread use of the Internet where everyone feels that they are qualified to write (about) anything. It is also because the quality of journalism has significantly declined. When articles published are badly written, lack information, are misspelled and without any syntax, how will journalism provide a good example to the masses?

One of the basic principles of journalism is that it will offer citizens the truth no matter the circumstances, and in a clear and simple way. Without destroying values, or taking a stance for or against an issue. This is the way it should be – the simple, unadorned, and unexaggerated truth.

So many journalists sacrifice their life for this exact principle – for the citizen’s right to proper information. In 2013 at least 70 journalists were killed in the line of duty, while in only the three first months of 2014, another 15 have already been killed. A profession for which people risk their lives should undoubtedly be respected. But just as in every other case, respect is something to be earned.

The so much bad journalism that exists today negates any good examples that still remain. And when people are more interested in the lives of “celebrities”, then journalism inevitably stoops down a level, with journalists themselves now becoming part of a profession that is not thought of as highly.

Of course, the fact that journalism is among those jobs where the worker is occupied long hours without a proper schedule, no real holidays or overtime, and receives a meagre salary, does not help at all. And in addition, journalists themselves are often scorned. For example, in high-level meetings such as Eurogroup and Ecofin Councils where the elite of governments, financial organisations and other officials gather to hold discussions and conferences, journalists are the ones who spend twelve-hours a day at the press centre trying to communicate to the people in a simple and coherent way what exactly is going on. Yet, they are often faced with insufficient space in which to work, weak Internet connections, and even lack of food. They are often treated as people of an inferior class, just like many employees, or at least all those who do not have a fancy title giving access to the relevant luxury that comes with. It is as if these employees and the other officials are separated into an “upstairs” and a “downstairs” clan. Journalists have to strive to earn their living (and their food), working hours on end in adverse conditions, while officials, delegates and “VIPs” freely enjoy luxurious lunches, extravagant dinners, and even exclusive (free) guided tours.

If journalism’s real purpose is to reveal corruption scandals for example, then ideally it should be clear of such issues itself. A bad name comes out of a bad example given. But it is now time for journalism and its employees to deservedly revive the glory that they lost long ago.

A Journalist by any other name…

twitter-journalismThe other day, as I was blissfully walking across one of the city’s busiest shopping streets (no, I had not bought anything, strangely enough, and yes that does happen), I had an interesting encounter.

A young man was trying to promote a beauty salon and caught my attention with a joke. He asked me what I do. When I responded that (among others) I am a journalist, he frowned and said “well, I can understand the rest, but that, I am not so thrilled about”.

It got me thinking. Why do journalists have such a bad name? And since when? I grew up believing it was so cool to be a journalist, a reporter roaming the streets, cities and countries in search of news, and always being the first to find out exciting information.  It was an ideal job.

But now? Now, journalists are one of the most underpaid and overworked professions there are, with citizen journalists trying to steal the show, and all these social media attempting to take over traditional forms of information.

Journalists have gained a bad name. Why? Because there are so many bad ‘journalists’ out there, that it makes the rest (of us) look bad too.

Everyone suddenly thinks they can be a writer, a journalist, a reporter. Because it is easy to just sit and write whatever comes to mind. But not everyone can express this adequately. And this is something few realize. A journalist is more than a writer and a storyteller. It is a person who searches after news, who can sense what is newsworthy, worthy of reporting; who can understand what the public is concerned about, and who can express it in such a way that every citizen/reader can understand what it is s/he is saying. It is about being concise, comprehensive and to the point. It is about being able to challenge the status quo when necessary, prompt change, and above all make the reader think.

In today’s digital and socially interconnected world, real journalism has lost its meaning. Instead it has become what Frank Zappa called “rock journalism” and most of it “is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, for people who can’t read”. And media today have become associated with this bad journalism.

Trying to stand out of the crowd in this storm isn’t easy. But they say that s/he who perseveres wins, and what is more, there is always the faith that a good journalist will never get lost. At least in a world where people still strive for perfection, quality journalism will remain a necessity always searched for…

Also part of NaBloPoMo (November 2013)

Also part of Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well

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