In the News: Obama Joins N.A.A.C.P. for 100th Convention, Planner Commissions Plummet in 2009

By Michael O'Connell July 8, 2009, 1:31 PM EDT

N.A.A.C.P. Snags Obama for Convention Appearance: The N.A.A.C.P. will celebrate 100 years of conventions in New York next week when it returns to the New York Hilton July 11 for six days of conferences and meetings about race today. Now the country's oldest civil rights organization can add an impressive headliner to a roster of speakers that already includes Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, New York Governor David Paterson, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: President Barack Obama will deliver the closing address to the convention on July 16. An estimated 8,000 are already expected to attend, but planners may anticipate a jump in attendance with this news. []

Event Planners Take Cuts to Keep Business: Plenty of independent event planners rely on commissions from vendors—typically 10 percent of the suppliers' fees—for their own income. Unfortunately for them, what business they are getting is at negotiated rates to stay competitive in the economy. That means more work to get clients a reduced rate and a lower commission to show for it. Many planners are reporting more than a 40 percent drop in revenue so far this year. [NYT]

Comic-Con Set for Live Broadcast: San Diego's Comic-Con has seen steady growth since its inception, but an increased Hollywood presence in recent years has widened the annual event's appeal to a larger audience and international media. Now, a few weeks shy of its July 23 return, word comes that some of this year's more sought-after panels and screenings will be simulcast on television and online. Technology network G4 plans to include live coverage of Lucasfilm's Star Wars panel in its five-hour Comic-Con programming block, and Warner Brothers is offering free streaming video of its Watchmen screening and Q&A to people in North America who bought the film on Blu-Ray. [io9]

G.I. Joe Launches Aerial Promotion: The theatrical release of Paramount's G.I. Joe is still be a month off, but the film's marketing team took advantage of the holiday weekend to scare up interest from beach-goers in New York and New Jersey. Black helicopters raced up and down the shore Saturday and Sunday with men outfitted as soldiers hanging from rope ladders that dangled from the choppers. Those close enough to the shore to investigate saw that the sides of the crafts were branded with the film's title, and the stunt apparently worked its way into conversations, tweets, and blog entries for the rest of the day. [BrandFreak]

Washington Post Events Spark Question of Integrity: The Washington Post is coming under fire for a reportedly unapproved flier that made the rounds last week, seeking sponsors for a “salon” event. Promising personal meetings with “government, advocacy, and industry decision-makers, as well as the Post's reporters and editors” in return for a $25,000 sponsorship fee, the fliers had many watchdogs wondering if this was pay-for-play in disguise. The Post said no, and issued an apology for the wording, but insisted that money can't buy access to its journalists. [PR Week]

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