Welcome to February. Isn't it amazing that we are now already 10% into 2019? Who put this year in fast-forward mode? Can we get a slow-motion button, please? ;)
Anyway, in this edition we are going to talk about three things:
I want to start off with something slightly different. How good is the indoor air quality in your newsroom? Do you know?
Over the past several months, I have come across several studies about how our indoor climates can have a really big impact on our health and concentration. And the results of these studies are quite surprising.
Let me give you two recent examples.
I came across a video called 'This Is Your Brain On Stale Air' from a scientist over at YouTube who is studying the effect of too much carbon dioxide (CO₂) in the air.
As you know, carbon dioxide is what we breathe out, and it's toxic for us humans. This is why you don't want to put your head into a plastic bag. And the way we measure how much CO₂ there is in the air is by measuring it in terms of 'parts per million' (ppm).
So let me give you a few numbers from the video.
We need quite a lot of CO₂ before it becomes truly dangerous. You don't want to spend a long time at about 10,000 ppm, and at 30,000 ppm you might die from it.
But what is interesting is that studies have now found that our higher-order decision making abilities are impaired at much lower levels.
At just 1,000 ppm, your cognitive functions are reduced by 15%, and at 1,400 ppm, you are losing 50% of your ability to think clearly.
So how does that compare to our everyday environment? Well, if you look outside, 60 years ago, the normal level was around 300 ppm, well below any point where it might be a problem. But today, due to increased pollution, this number has risen to 400 ppm, and even goes up to 500 ppm in urban areas. And it's expected to continue to rise to 695 ppm.
This means that, by just going outside, you will lose 5-10% of your cognitive abilities.
So, we should just stay inside... right?
No, because inside it's often even worse. In a study across several schools in the US, they measured 1,000 ppm (similar to some offices), and in your bedroom it can go up to 4,000 ppm.
The worst example they found was inside motorcycle helmets where the enclosed environment meant that it could go up to 10,000 ppm ... which is a point where you are so impaired that you absolutely shouldn't drive.
You can see the effect of this in the video above. In Kurtis Baute's experiment, he went up to 6,500 ppm and you can clearly see that it is affecting his ability to think.
So, because of this video, I actually went out and bought an air quality sensor because I want to know how bad (or good) it is in my home. I haven't received it yet, so I can't tell you the result.
But my point is... do you know what it is where you work? For instance, if you have a packed newsroom where all your journalists are sharing an open office, do you have air quality similar to a school?
It might be that your office is fine and that your ventilation system completely solves this problem, but an air quality sensor is only about $100.
But think about it. 1,000 ppm equals a 15% drop in the cognitive function of your journalists. This seems like something you would want to look into.
The second example I want to mention is from my country (Denmark).
A municipality recently did an experiment where they installed air purifiers (you know, machines that remove harmful particles, dust, allergens (pollen), viruses, and many other things from the air) in several day-care centers.
And the result of this has been absolutely remarkable.
They have been able to reduce the amount of staff sick days by half, and for the kids by about 35%.
So, by just buying a few air purifiers they were able to dramatically change something that is extremely problematic for many companies.
What the air purifiers also did was to remove the nasty smells that we usually associate with a day-care center, which made the whole environment more pleasant to work in.
You can read more about this here, but the article is in Danish (so use Google Translate or something).
But again, think about this in terms of your newsroom. Obviously a newsroom is not a day-care center, but imagine if you could install an air purifier and reduce sick days by 10%, and also have more pleasant indoor air to work in. That would be amazing!
Again, I don't know if this is really a problem in newsrooms, but it would be something that I would look into.
In the media industry we often write articles about the lack of ad transparency, and we have seen quite a lot of negative coverage directed towards Google and Facebook.
However, Google and Facebook actually do provide quite a lot of ad transparency. They are not perfect, and there are quite a lot of inconsistencies between platforms. And there is also no question that the public now demands more transparency, but they are not just thinking about this in terms of tech channels.
So, in this article I'm investigating the trend, and I illustrate what we have today and where it is severely lacking. And it turns out that we (as publishers) are way behind the tech channels, which is not a good result.
So, read this if you want to see where we are today with ad transparency (and of course, where we need to be).
Finally, in my latest podcast I'm talking about the future of interactive TV, what it is and what it isn't.
This was a really fun podcast to put together and there are a lot of examples in it. And like last time, this podcast is actually a hybrid where you can choose whether you want to read or listen to it.
Both versions cover the same topics, but the audio version has been designed specifically for audio and because of that it comes with slightly different and more audio-focused examples.
The article version has similar examples, but also includes some extra video sources.
So, you should just get both... right? ;)
Anyway, my point is to give you something that best suits your moment. So, if you enjoy having an audio moment, maybe for the morning/afternoon run or during your commute to work, get that. But if you want to sit down with your tablet, you could just get the article.
It's up to you :)
Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter
"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé