Category Archives: Media

Office Lunch Breaks

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This article on the endangered lunch hour on msnbc.com is driving me crazy today. I generally agree with the premise of the article, that taking time out for a healthy lunch is important for both health and productivity, but then I got to this quote:

And it’s women executives who seem most lunch-away-from-the-office adverse. More than half, or 57 percent, of women polled said they brought their lunch from home, compared to 36 percent among their male manager counterparts.

Sure, it looks good if you’re busting your butt to get work done, especially in this tough job market, but not taking time out for a healthy lunch could have far-reaching ramifications.

This is just crazy. Bringing your lunch from home does not necessarily equate to eating at your desk, and the idea that you would have a healthier lunch if you went out to a restaurant is just ludicrous. I mean, yes, it is possible to get healthy food at some restaurants, but it is much more likely that you will eat something full of fat, sugar and too many calories. I bring my lunch from home because I want to have a healthy lunch. That does not stop me from going to the cafeteria to eat with friends, or at least taking a break from work to check out my twitter feed.

I find this article so frustrating because it has both bad data assumptions and bad advice for fixing the problem. I absolutely agree that taking a break to eat a healthy lunch makes you healthier and a more productive employee. Breaks allow us to be more productive, and healthy food fuels our bodies so that we can do better in all areas of our lives. But going from brown bagging it to being a workaholic is a huge leap, and recommending eating out instead of bringing healthy food you made at home (so you know what is in it) is counter productive.

Skipping lunch breaks is a real problem, especially if it is due to pressure in the corporate environment to look busy all the time. Creating an appearance of industry that actually results is less work of lower quality getting done is not what anyone really wants. Demonstrating the actual problem and giving good advice for fixing it would be more helpful than tossing around statistics that don’t mean what they are being reported to mean.

Is This What Free News Sites Gets Us?

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Does this article on titanium necklaces worn by professional baseball players from my local paper’s site read like an advertisement to anyone but me? The article describes the necklaces as something that “might help [ballplayers] relax and perform better” or they “might just be a trendy fashion statement” which sounds a bit skeptical, but the “reporter” then goes on to say:

If the players believe the necklaces give them energy or help their muscles recover quicker, then maybe that’s enough.

Of course, what really makes this read like a commercial is the the quote from the company spokesman Joseph Valdez describing the $36 necklaces:

There’s not an official claim that it’s going to do A, B, or C; however, every product is going to effect the body differently depending on the player. To be honest a lot of major league baseball players wear them because it’s kind of the new bling.

Yeah, because if I was a major league baseball player, I’d go to a $36 necklace for the bling factor. Valdez goes on to explain that several players are paid to endorse the company’s products, which I am betting is a stronger influence than the bling factor.

Listen, I want our local news to succeed as much as the next person, but there has got to be a better way. When I go to the paper’s website, I click on the ads to support the paper. I wouldn’t mind paying a subscription fee, honestly; I get my news online because I don’t want the paper piling up around my house, not because I don’t want to pay for it. But, that is obviously a model that isn’t working for most online news sites. There has to be something else we can do besides disguising advertisements as articles, though. That just lowers the trust that readers have in the “news” provided by the site.

I don’t have a good answer here. I know that this is something that the newspaper industry has been struggling with for some time now. But if we want to keep our local communities strong, we can’t let the news default to a few larger players like MSNBC or CNN that can get the big advertising money. We need a vibrant press community with reporters from all over the country. But they can’t do it without our support–and bloggers will only take us so far.