More American workers have returned to the workplace and more are using protective equipment like masks and gloves, a Gallup survey said Tuesday. A Michigan teen sits in a juvenile detention center because she didn’t do her online schoolwork. Trylifehacks is a self help online money making guide on how to make money online through e-buisness and affiliate marketing. We update e-business , investing , affiliate marketing and e-commerce guide regularly. He has the perfect work-from-home job. And even he misses people. How do you reopen public schools when COVID-19 cases and deaths are on the rise in Florida and Brevard County? SDCC’s 51st year was changed by the pandemic. Now the organization is in uncharted territory: Going online and making it free.
July 21 (UPI) — More American workers have returned to the workplace and more are using protective equipment like masks and gloves, a Gallup survey said Tuesday.
Just 10% said none of their coworkers have returned to the office.
Fifty-eight percent said they “always” use personal protective equipment at work, an increase of 15%, and about two-thirds said their employers are providing the equipment.
The survey, however, found a slight decline in workers (51%) who now say their company is enforcing a six-foot distancing rule less. In April, that figure was 55%.
The survey also found that fewer employees (38%) are “always” working from home.
“Many U.S. companies have expressed a commitment to employee and customer safety as they attempt to continue to do business amid the coronavirus pandemic,” Gallup wrote. “The positive steps toward coronavirus mitigation may be helping keep worker concerns about being exposed to the virus steady even as infections continue to rise in the U.S.”
Gallup polled more than 3,500 members of its panel for the survey, which has a margin of error of 3 points.
Author: Clyde Hughes
Case of teen jailed for missing online classwork shows how schools and courts oppress Black students
While school districts all over the country grapple with how to best educate youth this upcoming academic year during a global pandemic, one Michigan teen sits in a juvenile detention center with no prospect of returning to in-person or remote learning anytime soon. The 15-year-old, identified only as Grace, has been in jail since May because she violated the terms of her probation by not completing her online coursework, according to a new report co-authored by ProPublica Illinois and the Detroit Free Press.
Grace, who is Black and has diagnosed ADHD, was on probation for fighting with her mom and stealing a cellphone from a classmate. After her school transitioned to remote learning on April 15, Grace said she felt unmotivated and overwhelmed by the work for her school, located in the predominantly white community of Beverly Hills, Mich.
That’s true of many students displaced from their schools, but, calling Grace a “threat to [the] community,”Judge Mary Ellen Brennan, the presiding judge of the Oakland County Family Court Division, sentenced the teen to Children’s Village juvenile detention on May 14. Now, Grace’s mother, Charisse, and advocates accuse the courts of racial bias.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Charisse told ProPublica. “Every day I go to bed thinking and wake up thinking, ‘How is this a better situation for her?’”
“That’s just a total devaluation of Black lives,” Shaun Gabbidon, professor of criminal justice at Penn State Harrisburg told Yahoo News. “We see this in countless other areas of the justice system.”
Police barricade with children in the background. (Getty Images)
Grace’s teacher, Katherine Tarpeh, has also come to the teen’s defense. Tarpeh argues that Grace’s performance during the pandemic was “not out of alignment with most of my other students.”
Last Thursday, the Michigan Supreme Court said it is reviewing the circumstances of Grace’s case, after attorneys filed a motion in court seeking an emergency review.
That evening, in a rally organized by the Michigan Liberation organization, more than 200 people stood outside the Oakland County Court chanting, “Grace for Grace” and held signs that read “#FreeGrace”.
Their message was, while they fight for Grace, this is bigger than any one teen. No child should be treated like this.
“Racism doesn’t have a ZIP code,” Rai LiNear, Wayne County director for Michigan Liberation told Yahoo News. “Bad judicial and prosecutorial practices don’t show how much money you make, how many languages you speak, nor all the places you’ve been. We have a real deep divide when it comes to the way that we treat our Black youth, and it starts in the schools.”
Many students have struggled with the adjustment to remote learning. The average student could begin the upcoming school year having lost as much as a third of the expected progress from the previous year in reading and half of the expected progress in math, according to a working paper from NWEA, a nonprofit organization, and scholars at Brown University and the University of Virginia.
The learning gap is wider in districts where the wealth and economic gap is greatest. There are relaxed expectations on teachers and students in poorer neighborhoods and districts and disparities in computer access and home internet access. In another analysis of 800,000 students reported by the New York Times, researchers at Brown and Harvard looked at how Zearn, an online math program, was used both before and after schools closed in March. It found that through late April, student progress in math decreased by about half in classrooms located in low-income ZIP codes, by a third in classrooms in middle-income ZIP codes and not at all in classrooms in high-income ZIP codes.
The struggles with remote learning extend beyond high school and beyond just Black students. Ojmarrh Mitchell, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University, said his undergraduate and PhD students last semester had their own issues adjusting to virtual learning. “These are the students who were the most motivated, and they had problems adjusting,” Mitchell told Yahoo News. “I had problems adjusting. It was a fiasco, but we constantly changed what we were going to do to fit the situation and make the best situation.”
Even apart from the strains imposed by remote learning, Black students are disciplined and arrested at school at disproportionately high levels, an analysis of federal data from 2017 by the Education Week Research Center finds. “In 28 states, the share of arrested students who are Black is at least 10% higher than their share of enrollment in schools with at least one arrest,” the report found. “In 10 of those states, that gap is at least 20%.”
According to a 2018 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Black youth are “15.5% of all public school students, but represented about 39% of students suspended from school”.
Black children are forced to understand at a young age that the world may view them as a threat. “I think many Black children realize once they become older that their childhoods ended around 10 years old,” LiNear said. “The ending of that period of childhood was through a lot of cases introduced through the school environment, like getting detentions, getting suspended … or a child being separated and having to stand out in the hallway. These are ways that we are starting to, you know, introduce the idea of policing within our schools.”
An analysis of 4,800 cases that were referred to the Oakland County Circuit Court from January 2016 to June 2020 found that 42% involved young Black people, who make up just 15% of the county’s population.
The school-to-prison pipeline has been well documented as a reality for many young students of color, particularly Black students. A National Juvenile Justice Network report notes, “students find themselves on a fast track to jail due to school policies such as zero-tolerance disciplinary policies, in which many youth are pushed out of school (suspended or expelled) as well as sent to the juvenile justice system for petty disciplinary matters.” Black students are three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students, according to the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.
The pipeline is often enforced by school resource officers, or SROs, who are assigned to schools to play the role of school police. But for many critics, there is too much ambiguity in their daily assessments. “Policing of schools is very skewed,” said Kerrison. “Having a school resource officer is not a remarkable thing … but the way they respond is where you see variation.” This ‘variation’ was on display in October 2015 when a South Carolina high school SRO was caught on video slamming and dragging a young Black girl from her desk for refusing to stop using her cellphone and leave the classroom as her teacher had directed. The officer was fired after the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office had opened a civil rights investigation into the incident.
“None of this is surprising despite how disappointing and unsettling it is,” said Erin Kerrison, assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “It lays bare that this is a chronic issue.”
Kerrison added, “If [Grace is] missing class … wouldn’t you want to find out why? The leap to truancy court as opposed to identifying why this child isn’t coming to school is a special kind of punishment reserved for Black students.”
The issues don’t stop there. A Washington Post column written by two university professors last week suggest that schools don’t act as a pathway to prison, but in many ways they are prisons for Black youth. “We are witnessing a school-prison nexus: Schools work within a web of institutions, policies, and practices that funnel Black youth into prisons,” Subini Annamma of Stanford University and David Stovall of the University of Illinois at Chicago note. “What’s more, depending on where you attend school, it no longer operates as a ‘pathway’ to prison but instead as a de facto prison.”
Mitchell adds that there is too much discretion given to judges when it comes to sentencing juveniles. “Unlike the criminal justice system for adults, there are relatively well drawn out, well-prescribed characteristics that determine how your case will be handled,” he said. “But in the juvenile justice system, they have all the same concerns as the criminal justice system and then this nebulous squishy idea of best interests of the child. And that’s where a lot of the drama comes in.”
Shaun Gabbidon, professor of criminal justice at Penn State Harrisburg, left, and Ojmarrh Mitchell, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Arizona State University. (Screenshots: Yahoo News)
Gabbidon says this contributes to a vicious cycle for many Black youth. “We know that the more people have contact with the system, the more there’s likely to be a bad outcome,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily help them. We should be doing everything we can to keep people out of the system, especially in a pandemic” in which prisons are breeding grounds for coronavirus.
Michigan Liberation is mobilizing against racism in the school and justice systems, using Grace as an example. It promotes comprehensive criminal justice reform, including courts, prosecutors, policing, prisons, juvenile systems, re-entry and diversion programs, and parole. “Folks will have to continue to organize together, come out to the streets, put public pressure on the judge, on the prosecutor’s office and stand in solidarity with Grace,” LiNear said. “I think that there is also a couple of weeks of very real-time action that folks can take, [before] the Michigan primaries,” which will be held on August 4.
On Monday, the Oakland County Court held a special hearing for Grace. Supporters gathered outside the courthouse hoping for her release. Instead, Judge Brennan chose to hold the case in review until September.
Cherisie Evans, a Michigan Liberation core member leader, was present outside of Monday’s hearing. She says that she believes if Grace were white, “she wouldn’t be in jail that long or at all.” As a lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans, 43, can’t make sense of why this is happening. At 14, Evans said she stuck up a pizza delivery man and was sentenced to two months in juvenile detention. Grace is going on three. “I don’t understand,” said Evans, who is now a home-owner, college graduate and entrepreneur.
For many academics and policy experts, stories like Grace’s are the stories of many Black youth across the country.
“It was already hard to show up to chemistry [for young people],” said Kerrison. “When you add remote learning, it’s harder to equitably provide learning and unless we reckon with this, we will have a Grace over and over again.”
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Video shows Black man pinned to tree in what he calls ‘attempted lynching’ at Indiana lake
Hanging deaths of Black men raise fears and echoes of an ugly era in history
As incidents of police brutality multiply, historians hear echoes of 18th-century ‘slave patrols’
Activist DeRay Mckesson on the protests, the election and what young people can do to spur change
‘Sleeping while Black’: Family seeks justice for Breonna Taylor, killed in her bedroom by police
Author: Marquise FrancisNational Reporter & Producer
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How Porky Pig Works From Home
He has the perfect work-from-home job. And even he misses people.
In the debate about whether the pandemic will permanently end office jobs, Bob Bergen has a compelling message about the enduring power of personal collaboration.
Bergen is the voice behind Porky Pig and a zillion other animated movies, television shows and TV commercials. For voice actors like him, the pandemic shifted work that had already been mostly done at home into an entirely remote profession.
Bergen told me he is grateful to have a job suited to our upended lives, but he can’t wait to work with people again.
“I don’t have to get on the freeway and drive from job to job so I can do more work. I don’t have to wear pants if I don’t want to. There are lots of pros to doing this,” he said. “But I do miss human interaction.”
In a way, Bergen’s job is ideally suited to these weird times. Gradually over the last decade or so, most of the voices we hear in commercials, movie trailers and audiobooks have been recorded from in-home sound booths or closets.
But Bergen said that animation was one of the last corners of voice acting where people were recorded at movie studio lots or other out-of-home spots, in part given the complications of mixing multiple cartoon voices.
Then the pandemic hit. “Literally, within 10 days, I along with most of the cartoon actors I know upgraded our home studios” to be able to do any job from home, Bergen said.
A technical expert coached Bergen over Skype to download extra software, and he upgraded some audio equipment for his home recording booth. Bergen estimates it cost him about $2,000.
Bergen showed me his updated workplace over Zoom. (And, yes, he did slip seamlessly into the voice of Porky Pig when we talked.)
His workplace is not much bigger than a closet, with soundproof walls and one window that lets in outside light. From a wall-mounted iPad, Bergen connects over online video with a voice director, writer and other collaborators during recording sessions. It’s a cozy, possibly claustrophobic office that he called his “money box.”
Bergen’s work life hasn’t dramatically changed. Now instead of having nightmares about forgetting his lines, he worries about forgetting to press the record button. He’s debating whether to shift the voice acting classes he’s taught for decades into virtual coaching.
Given how much hasn’t changed for Bergen, I was surprised that he stressed the deficits of working alone at home. How is it different, I asked, than recording by himself in an animation studio?
He said that he now appreciates how much human interaction there is when you have to physically go somewhere for work. You can hug the director instead of waving hello over an iPad, and spontaneously see people as you walk around a movie studio.
I think many of us now working from home can relate to missing those unplanned interactions for which Zoom meetings are a poor substitute.
“It’s the stuff outside of recording that I absolutely miss,” Bergen said. “I think when this is all over, we’ll absolutely be going back into the studio.”
Brian X. Chen, a personal technology writer for The New York Times, has a couple of handy tips for people using Google’s email service for professional purposes:
It often surprises me how many people are unaware of some of Gmail’s special features, like scheduling emails to send later and blocking senders.
I suspect it’s because so many of us have used Gmail for so long — with a design that has barely changed in over a decade — that we don’t expect it to add features.
It’s better late than never, especially while many of us are working from home.
Here’s how to schedule an email to send later:
Compose your message and click the icon next to the Send button. On a computer browser, the icon is shaped like an arrow; on the Gmail mobile app, it’s three horizontal dots. Then click “Schedule send” and choose a time and date for the message to go through.
Here’s how to block someone from sending you emails, using an email from Target as an example:
Open an email from Target. Click on the three dots next to the reply button. Choose the option “Block ‘Target.’”
I find scheduling emails especially useful for important work memos that I want to land in someone’s inbox first thing in the morning.
And blocking emails from a sender is a great option when you don’t want to go through the hassle of clicking on the “unsubscribe” option at the bottom of a marketing email.
This story is just WILD: A person with the screen name “lol.” Peering into the employee chat system at Twitter. A craving for short user names like @y and @6. My colleagues Nathaniel Popper and Kate Conger have the strange tale of a group of young people — one of whom lives at home with his mother — who orchestrated the takeover last week that targeted the Twitter accounts of more than 100 well-known people.
This changes everything. Or maybe not: Several times in the last few years, there has been a cascade of people speaking out about what they said was rampant sexual assault and inappropriate behavior in the video game industry. There have been fresh accusations of mistreatment since June, but many gaming experts say they doubted these will change a video game culture that has often been hostile to women, my colleague Kellen Browning reported.
The man behind a series of dangerous online hoaxes: An investigation by The Washington Post found the 38-year-old man who started a number of false online rumors — including a campaign to confiscate guns and a planned flag burning at Gettysburg — that have led to real-world confrontations. The man, Adam Rahuba, told The Post that he had used multiple online aliases for years to manipulate the fears of conspiracy-minded Americans, mostly for his own entertainment.
Did you know that cattle love eating bananas — peel and all? (You should definitely follow everything from this unfailingly cheerful Twitter account of an English farm.)
We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you’d like us to explore. You can reach us at email@example.com.
Author: Shira Ovide
Brevard is doing its best to reopen schools safely, but it’s anyone’s guess whether it will work | Our view
How do you reopen public schools when COVID-19 cases and deaths are on the rise in Florida and Brevard County?
The safest option would be for schools to remain closed and invest in virtual education. But we know that’s not realistic after Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran signed an executive order telling schools they must reopen or risk losing state funding.
Neither is it realistic for parents who need to return to work and simply cannot keep their children at home for much longer. Nor is it good for children who need the extra supports schools provide whether through counseling or special needs instruction or guaranteed meals and supervision.
More:Reopening schools: Brevard school board approves reopening plan; start date still on table
More:School leaders don’t know if it’s safe to open, and local health officials won’t (or can’t) tell them
Faced with these realities, the plan the School Board approved last week does the best it can. It gives parents options if they don’t feel comfortable sending their children back to in-person classes. The board approved extending eLearning options for secondary students (it was initially proposed only for elementary students). Students who take it will follow live lessons taking place in real time in a classroom connected to their home school. They will also follow a regular school schedule.
Parents also have the option of enrolling their children in Florida Virtual Schools or Brevard Virtual Schools, which are the traditional online learning platforms.
But to think there is a way to send tens of thousands of students back into classrooms without risking new infections would be naive. Teachers have raised valid concerns about their own safety and are making demands Brevard Public Schools should do its best to meet, including guaranteed illness/injury-in-the-line of duty leave if a teacher is required to quarantine because of COVID-19.
The School Board made the right decision to strengthen its mask policy by making it “expected” instead of simply “strongly recommended.” They could have gone one step further, however, by requiring face coverings in common areas, as School Member Matt Susin proposed (requiring masks at all times would raise too many disciplinary issues for educators, we recognize). The board agreed Tuesday to revisit a mask mandate in a July 30 meeting.
The greatest concern we have isn’t necessarily with the plan put forward by Superintendent Mark Mullins and a 14-person task force, including two people from the Brevard Health Department.
Corcoran’s executive order says schools will not reopen if local health officials determine it isn’t safe to do so. But local health officials, and not only in Brevard, are not providing that assessment, FLORIDA TODAY’s Eric Rogers reported last week. That became clear when Palm Beach County decided it would keep schools shut based on the advice of its health director. But she declined to put her opinion in writing, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Mullins told our Editorial Board last week local health officials have been part of every decision in his plan and Brevard health director Maria Stahl has said her role is to educate, not tell districts what to do.
But what we’ve learned so far doesn’t foster confidence that school leaders have the information and the flexibility they need to make their decision on reopening, especially if that decision was to delay. Also, it remains unclear what will happen if the pandemic worsens and we start seeing outbreaks at schools. Mullins said they are planning for that possibility and there will be a team that could meet daily to assess situations based on individual circumstances.
The School Board seemed to agree with our concern when on Tuesday it decided to will meet again next week to discuss making school openings contingent on whether the pandemic continues to improve in Brevard.
Brevard’s reopening plan asks parents to make a nine-week commitment once they choose whether to send their children back to brick-and-mortar schools or keep them at home. Online learning was hastily put together in the spring after schools closed in March and many parents weren’t happy with the results. We are optimistic that in the fall online learning will be more robust, interactive and efficient.
For those returning to in-person classes, there are some reassurances that they will be safe, but those aren’t bullet proof.
The district is increasing space inside classrooms by removing unnecessary furniture, but expecting students to always maintain 6-foot distance is unrealistic. There’s no plan to change class sizes (that could be accomplished, though, if a lot of parents don’t send their kids to school).
According to CDC guidelines, schools can lower the risk of COVID-19 infections by maintaining smaller class sizes and if “groups of students stay together and with the same teacher throughout/across school days and groups do not mix.” While Brevard students will have fewer periods of 90-minutes each in middle and high school, they will not stay with the same teacher (that’s not feasible after elementary school) and will move from classroom to classroom.
Mullins told FLORIDA TODAY’s Editorial Board this week it’s his “full expectation” that when social distancing isn’t possible that students put masks on, which the district will provide for those who don’t have one.
The reopening of schools, just like any attempt to return to normalcy during this pandemic, will be an experiment parents, children, teachers and staff will endure. Will Brevard Public Schools’ best effort work? We will learn in a few months.
We certainly hope it does.
Isadora Rangel is FLORIDA TODAY’s public affairs and engagement editor and a member of the Editorial Board. Her columns reflect her opinion. Support her work by subscribing to FLORIDA TODAY. Readers may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comic-Con is free and online this year. Will anyone watch?
The staff of Comic-Con International knew it was coming, but that didn’t stop the tears.
In mid-April, San Diego’s prized event was called off because of COVID-19. It made sense considering 135,000 attendees jammed into the Convention Center had the potential to be an epic super-spreader event.
“We had to break the news to everybody that we wouldn’t have a show,” said Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer about when they told employees. “I will be very honest with you, there was some crying.”
But, then something happened.
Staff members started working on a plan to move the convention to an online-only format. And it turns out, a lot of movie studios, comic book companies and wacky pop culture groups were enthusiastic about the idea — and willing to work hard to make it happen.
On July 22, Comic-Con will kick off its 51st year — re-branded as Comic-Con@Home — online for free. Around 350 panels will be viewable on YouTube with the potential for thousands of fans sitting at home all over the world tuning in.
Comic-Con is tempering expectations of attendance. On one hand, the organization has always complained it doesn’t have enough space at the Convention Center and thousands of people trying to attend are always turned away. Now there is, in a sense, no limit on attendance. But, does anyone really want to sit in front of a computer or phone instead of being in the famed Hall H?
“There’s nothing more exciting than being in the room,” said Heidi MacDonald, editor of The Beat, a comic book news website.
Like a lot of frequent attendees, she lamented missing out on the real thing, even the parts most of us would dread — the excitement of waiting in line for hours with the chance to be there when the next big film is announced to braving the oceans of people who would never have the chance to meet unless at this pop-culture extravaganza.
It is hard to forget last year’s convention when Marvel Studios stole the show with announcements of a massive film and TV slate. It was pandemonium when a fourth Thor film was announced and Natalie Portman strutted on stage to lift the mythical hero’s hammer to deafening applause among 6,500 fans in Hall H.
However, MacDonald said the online event takes away from the sting of missing out on Comic-Con this year and credited the organization for going all out to try and create something. She also said she wouldn’t be shocked if there was a big turnout for the online panels.
“I wouldn’t be surprised — especially for the entertainment panels — to see quite a bit of attendance,” MacDonald said.
Measuring success of the online Comic-Con may be difficult because it doesn’t have the same number of must-see events. At least for now, the biggest names are sitting this year out: Marvel Studios, Warner Bros. with its large DC film division, CW with its massive lineup of DC shows and Star Wars.
At least some of that can be explained by production and release schedules being disrupted by the coronavirus, and DC holding its own online convention in August, DC FanDome. It’s part of a slow creep of pop culture entities having their own conventions, such as Star Wars Celebration and Disney’s D23 event.
That’s not to say there isn’t star power at this year’s convention. Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves are confirmed for the event. And TV shows with substantial followings seem to be going all out with multiple casts and panels, including “The Walking Dead”, “The Boys” and CBS’ ever-growing crop of Star Trek shows.
Schedules can also be added to. A week after the convention schedule was announced, the highly anticipated (and often delayed) new X-Men film, “The New Mutants,” was added to the Thursday schedule — quickly becoming the most anticipated panel of the entire convention. The film was the last of the Fox era of X-Men films and not considered part of the Marvel film universe, like Captain America and Iron Man.
Comic book fan Michael Coppola, 30, of New Rochelle, New York, said it was always a bucket list item for him to attend San Diego Comic-Con.
Coppola, who also runs a website called Mike Does Movies, plans to tune into the online convention on Saturday for the “Bill & Ted” panel, although he admits he isn’t overly excited because some of the bigger names won’t be there.
“It is a bummer that Marvel Studios and DC won’t be having a panel,” he said, “but considering that their production is halted and their release schedules (are) still are up in the air, it isn’t a surprise.”
Still, Coppola is a veteran of many New York Comic Cons and thinks the SDCC online event might be a welcome break from the long lines and disappointment of not getting into big events.
Logistics for the event are fairly straight-forward: Comic-Con staff will work from home while studios are responsible for setting up their own video equipment. To avoid major glitches, most panels will be pre-recorded.
It might take away from the excitement but the potential for equipment problems across hundreds of presenters is high, said Walter Kinzie, CEO of Texas-based Encore Live, a company that has been creating drive-in concert experiences for Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Trace Adkins.
“Even with incredibly reliable Internet connections, what can go wrong often times does seems to go wrong,” Kinzie said.
He said success for companies dipping their toes into virtual events for the first time means not having interruptions in feeds. That’s why he said many companies are doing the “live-to-tape” model, where videos are filmed beforehand and aired as if they are live. Familiar with the Comic-Con organization, he said he was confident the event is something it can pull off and he is learning people are way more understanding with digital shows than many realized.
“People understand the difficulties that businesses and organizations, and human beings in general, are going through and they know that we’re all more or less in this new reality together,” he said.
Comic-Con will take a financial hit not charging for tickets. The nonprofit, which also runs Anaheim’s Wonder Con, brought in $24.8 million in program service revenue in 2018, according to tax returns. However, the organization received federal government assistance to pay its 80-person staff through the Paycheck Protection Program. Also, although it has nothing to announce yet, Glazner said Comic-Con is working on getting sponsorship money for the event.
The economic hit to San Diego is a different story. There’s the huge advertising loss from the banners that wrap around downtown hotels, homeowners renting out rooms on Airbnb, convention attendees buying food and numerous items in the Gaslamp Quarter, and hotels filled to the brim.
The San Diego Convention Center Corp. estimated the physical 2020 convention would have brought in $166.2 million to the region. It would have meant 61,750 hotel rooms booked and at least $3.2 million in taxes.
“There is no question that Comic-Con has a huge economic impact on the region,” said Maren Dougherty, marketing director with the Convention Center. “It is certainly one of the events in the region with the greatest impact because of the number of attendees and all of the activities that take place throughout the city.”
Miro Copic, a marketing lecturer at San Diego State University, said it was critical that San Diego’s marquee event continued in some capacity this year. He said Comic-Con goes beyond just its content, being an opportunity to showcase the city every year to the entire world.
Copic is a little more familiar with fan behavior than your typical business professor, having previously worked as a senior vice president of marketing and product management for Wizards of the Coast, which produces the Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons games. He said even with some big names missing, he said the power of niche franchises will likely mean more attendees than many people realize.
“I think from an attendance perspective, you are going to get way past 135,000 people, you might get into the millions of people that will attend worldwide,” he said.
Lesser-known TV shows sometimes surprise even Comic-Con organizers with how many people show up, so it’s possible online events might do the same. Take the “Young Justice” panel from 2018. It was a DC cartoon that lasted just two seasons (before being revived in 2019) and probably isn’t on the general public’s radar. But, the room for 638 people filled up in minutes, leaving hundreds of diehard fans to wait outside in the hopes someone would leave and they could get in. Most never did.
One thing that might come out of this event is future streaming of panels that are the hardest to get into. Glazner said what makes the event great is the vast community of fans coming together in person but there may be room for more online features.
“I think there might an online component (in future conventions),” he said. “We’ll have to see after the show is done to find out what people enjoyed, what worked, what was a challenge.”
Two franchises are going all out at this year’s Comic-Con: Star Trek and The Walking Dead.
The Star Trek universe is in the middle of a renaissance with new TV shows on CBS All Access and the return of its biggest star, Patrick Stewart. It will pretty much take over Thursday’s programming with three shows featured: “Picard,” “Lower Decks” and “Discovery.”
A zombie epic that has now spilled over into three shows, The Walking Dead, will take up three hours of programming on Friday. The biggest cast members, including Norman Reedus, will be in attendance.
Besides Reeves and Theron, another prominent name at the convention includes Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda will appear on a “His Dark Materials” panel Thursday, Theron will have a panel all to herself on Friday and Reeves will pull double-duty Saturday with panels about the anniversary of the “Constantine” movie and his new movie, “Bill & Ted Face the Music.”
Other big draws include an appearance by the cast of Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” on Thursday, “The New Mutants” on Thursday, HBO Max’s adult animation panel Friday, and vampire comedy “What We Do in the Shadows” on Saturday.
A catch-all place to see everything happening from July 22 to July 26 will be Comic-Con’s website at https://www.comic-con.org/cci/2020/athome.
The direct YouTube channel to most panels is https://www.youtube.com/user/ComicCon
You can read the San Diego Union-Tribune’s coverage at https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment
— Phillip Molnar is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune
Author: By Phillip Molnar