The Importance of Cooperation
Experience Sharing from the 2011 European Fa Conference
[PureInsight.org] Greetings, esteemed Master! Greetings, fellow practitioners!
I am a Dafa practitioner from Bulgaria and part of my responsibilities is daily work on the Bulgarian Epoch Times. I would like to share with you some experiences from my work, which I believe can be beneficial to many of us, regardless of whether we work for the Epoch Times or not.
Identifying the Project Best Suited for Saving Sentient Beings in Our Area
In a question to Master at the “Fa Teaching at the 2010 New York Fa Conference” about which project would be best suited for saving people in a particular area Master replied: “Use whichever one has matured. If you feel that NTDTV has matured, then use that approach. But if you don’t have the right conditions, then it won’t work out. If it is the Epoch Times that has matured, then launch an Epoch Times there. It is not about which project fits better. Rather, you have to consider firstly whether or not there are the right conditions for it, and secondly, as Dafa disciples you need to think things through in practical terms for the sake of sentient beings.” A few years back we started running NTDTV in Bulgaria. Because of the lack of manpower, after a while we realized that we couldn’t do both Epoch Times and NTDTV if we were to do them well, so we focused on Epoch Times. We still continue to translate and publish one or two films on a daily basis, the majority of which are truth clarification films. That helps us in enriching the content of our Epoch Times website and fortifying our output as a media. Naturally as time passed, The Epoch Times proved to be the most effective project in Bulgaria. I noticed that some of the new practitioners or practitioners who had not been so active overlooked the importance of this main media project. When those practitioners have the enthusiasm to be more involved we have to help them understand how to prioritize different projects, so that our manpower is balanced better.
Being more professional
In many of our media projects we still lack the level of professionalism necessary to be truly effective. We identified many aspects of our editorial, marketing and technical work that were not up to scratch for a mainstream media and we started working on handling those better.
For example we translated articles from the other language editions of Epoch Times, but we lacked our own original content. For a few years we relied on other media entities for news from our region and we republished those on our website in accordance with the articles’ copyright agreements. Since the selection of articles was good, our website attracted a good number of regular visitors, but this was still far below the objective, and we decided to try relying only on our original content as mainstream media entities do.
Even with less content on the website, the number of visitors did not drop. From the beginning of this year we stopped republishing external content and we now publish all original Epoch Times content. We are still behind in terms of article quantity and rich content, but we are moving forward with our writers getting more professional, organizing ourselves better and with more practitioners joining the local Epoch Times team. Doing a good job in writing and translating articles is an important step forward, but there were still other aspects we had to improve to reach more people. For example our online content publishing system is rather old and is not up to the standard of modern media entities. Besides ease of use for both our staff and visitors, it was hard to maintain the site or improve it with new features. Since I have experience in software development, I took on the task of renewing it by adding many features that would allow us to be more competitive in the marketplace. Now we are on the verge of launching this new publishing system and we believe it will be a powerful tool to accommodate many of our local needs as a media. Participating in the Epoch Times media project is a very involved job with daily responsibilities. Every peak or trough in my cultivation is immediately reflected in my work and can be seen clearly. This helped me identify many different shortcomings and helped me improve.
The importance of cooperation
In all recent lectures, Master has pointed out that cooperation is the most important factor in our work to save sentient beings. Establishing a good environment of cooperation for our local Epoch Times project was of utmost importance to us. As a media entity with a business structure and clear positions of responsibility, cooperation inside the team has to naturally follow this structure. Throughout the years we noticed a common pattern of practitioners joining the project, then being unwilling to cooperate. In the end, they would leave the project, often bringing bigger troubles. With hindsight, it is easy to see that the problems with cooperation were the most damaging ones. Being a coordinator of a Dafa project, I reminded myself often to think of others.
Now we set strict requirements for ourselves in terms of cooperation inside the team and everyone understands the importance of it. During the last year, the cooperation problems were much fewer and isolated; things are moving forward smoothly. Now when practitioners join the project, they become part of a good cooperative environment that benefits everyone, so that we can learn from each other and make progress together.
Having that kind of environment inside the media team is important, but it is also extremely important that the whole body of practitioners cooperate well together. In some cases practitioners who had systematic issues cooperating with different coordinators tried to get support from newer practitioners and involve them in their own things in a sneaky way. Dragging practitioners away from the most important projects because of cooperation issues and a failure to understand priorities cannot lead to anything good. Maybe the majority of those newer practitioners were predestined to work and build their mighty virtue in those projects. We need to watch out for those more extreme cases as one body and not allow them to happen. I believe that it is also an issue of cooperation if we turn a blind eye when faced with such major issues.
Sometimes the cooperation issues in our day-to-day work are noticeable, and if they are pointed out with good intentions they are easier to resolve. But in certain cases the cooperation problems are not that visible, especially to the practitioners who have them. For example, sometimes we may treat certain attachments like laziness as a personal cultivation problem, but in the larger context of doing the media work those can play out as issues of cooperation.
Recently I realized a certain problem of mine. I put a lot of effort into high priority tasks, but sometimes I fail to do well the low priority ones. In a certain case other people depended on those tasks that I regarded as low priority and they were actually a high priority for them. There are quite a lot of aspects where we can fall short in terms of cooperation. For example, someone may point out to you how to improve in a certain aspect of your work, but you do not take his opinion seriously because you feel that you are in a position of authority or have more professional experience. Maybe you work hard on the tasks you have at hand, but the real amount of work that you can handle is much more than that – isn’t our failing to work even more diligently an issue of cooperation as well? I will certainly take the lead to do this well.
Looking inside ourselves to identify those problems with persistent Fa-study will ensure that we have less and less of them, which will directly benefit the projects we are working on.
Thank you, Master. Thank you, fellow practitioners.