By: Sara Lasseter
After the New York Times released its exposé on the Wal-Mart bribery investigation in April 2012, a sum of $12 billion was erased from the grocery store’s market value. While the story had a significant impact on the market for Wal-Mart and Walmex, the New York Times deliberately released the story over the weekend to deter any accusations of insider trading or private access. This story gained widespread attention for its sensitive market information and prompted many discussions on the idea of selling early access to interested parties.
But this poses a controversial question: What is the purpose of a newspaper? Newspapers began as purely profit-making entities that sold any and all stories to generate revenue. A shift toward news motivated by public interest began in the 1960s and 70s due to events like Watergate that prompted newspapers to become public institutions that existed to uphold certain principles for the good of society. Today, public value of ever-present and instantaneous news has created an “entitled and expectant” environment for the print media industry that makes it difficult to implement any major frontrunner services without a substantial amount of backlash.
Critics say that offering market-moving information at a price to hedge funds and investors plays against public interest, but could there be a beneficial side to selling these facts at a fee? Publications like the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones wire have begun to offer paid subscriptions for readers who wish to access market-moving information sooner than it is published in the newspaper or posted online. Some opponents think a move like this would be considered insider trading, while others say as long as there is no personal gain of the party disseminating the information, then it is completely legal. The court case of Dick vs. SEC 1983 established that a lack of personal benefit in trading eliminates the risk of insider trading. Neither the NYT nor Wal-Mart sources would have had any personal gain from releasing this story early to interested parties, therefore, both would be free from insider trading accusations. Continue reading
Daily agency life often feels like an elaborate juggling act—account managers constantly juggle accounts and each account’s unique priorities and deadlines. This requires switching gears throughout the day, usually several times an hour. The necessity of this workflow is obvious—we need to be available to our clients throughout the day as projects and issues pop up, and we strive to efficiently handle projects as if each account were our only account. The KG team prides ourselves on being flexible and in our ability to nimbly manage dozens of loose ends at a time. However, it would not be a stretch to call this style of work ‘multi-tasking,’ and from our recent series on productivity, we know that multi-tasking at its worst actually reduces productivity. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on how to be more productive at work, and identified “fragmentation – trying to juggle many competing, and usually unexpected, demands on your time,” as the leading cause of an unproductive day and the root of the uncomfortable feeling that you worked really hard all day and yet have the sense that nothing got done. Yep, that’s a day KGers can relate to! How then do agencies limit the inefficiencies of multi-tasking in the face of competing demands on their time?
The WSJ article, “How to Save an Unproductive Day in 25 Minutes,” gives three suggestions for busy professionals to maximize efficiency when pulled in a million directions. The article resonated with me, and I wanted to share the tips and how they apply to agency life at KG.
1. Schedule uninterrupted work time—Whether you have to go hide in the empty conference room to escape the usually welcome antics of your awesome coworkers (pie! Funny YouTube clip!), pipe in some white noise to get you in the no-distraction zone like Eric does, or follow the Pomodoro Technique like Valerie does, actually scheduling dedicated time to completely focus on the most pressing task at hand can help check it off your to-do list faster.
2. Keep track of the progress you made that day—The WSJ recommends writing out everything you did at the end of a crazy day to give yourself a better sense of accomplishment. Personally I keep a running to-do list and find great satisfaction (possibly too much satisfaction) in checking things off that list. Sometimes I even tack on a few too-easy tasks that really shouldn’t count (making breakfast, putting new ink in the printer) just to make myself feel more productive! As the WSJ points out, perception is reality and just feeling more productive can make all the difference between a good day and a bad one. Continue reading