June 1, 2018: National Spelling Bee Champion Crowned in Record-Breaking Event, Grammys President to Resign Next Year, Ticketfly Takes Website Offline After Cyber Attack, Pope to Host Private Conference on Climate Change

By Ian Zelaya June 1, 2018, 8:17 AM EDT

1. NATIONAL SPELLING BEE CHAMPION CROWNED IN RECORD-BREAKING EVENT: Texas teenager Karthik Nemmani won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday with the word “koinonia,” in a competition that was considered to be the most vigorous in the 93 years it's taken place. Washington Post: “In doing so, the 14-year-old emerged the top speller from a record-shattering 515 contestants at the national bee, compared with 291 last year, after organizers expanded eligibility with a new wild-card program. Along the way, he had to outlast a field of 16 finalists who vanquished words such as 'Praxitelean,' 'ispaghul' and 'telyn'—sometimes without batting an eyelash—in a breathtaking show of spelling skill broadcast live on ESPN. ... The 16 spellers took the stage Thursday night at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland to battle it out for the title of champion. The competition was, in a word, brutal. In the first round of ESPN-televised spelling Thursday night, nearly half of the finalists misspelled their words, including several crowd favorites such as Tara Singh, a 13-year-old from Kentucky who was competing at her fifth and final national bee. To even get to that point, the finalists had to survive nearly five hours of onstage spelling that started Thursday morning. Bee officials said the plan had been to whittle down the field to about a dozen contestants for the prime-time competition. It would take five rounds of onstage spelling to get to 16, the largest group ever to head into the championship finals. The 16 finalists ranged in age from 11 to 14 and include nine girls and seven boys. The spellers come from all over the United States, plus one from Canada. And several had appeared at the national bee in previous years."

2. GRAMMYS PRESIDENT TO RESIGN NEXT YEAR: Neil Portnow, the president and C.E.O. of the Recording Academy, will step down when his contract expires in 2019. The Hollywood Reporter: “Portnow, who has served as the head of the organization that produces the Grammy Awards since 2002, has a deal that runs through July 2019, the sources said, meaning a new leader should be installed by next summer. ... The decision comes at a time when the Academy has been facing increasing public pressure and backlash amid a number of scandals, many of them self-inflicted. Portnow himself has been at the center of several of them, beginning the night of Jan. 28, 2018, when he said in an interview following the 60th Grammy Awards in New York City that women needed to 'step up' if they wanted to be better-represented in the music industry. The comment came in response to the fact that—despite a list of nominations that was widely praised for its diversity after years of criticism±Alessia Cara was the only woman to receive an on-stage televised award at the Grammys this year. Portnow was swiftly criticized by artists and executives alike, with high-profile artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Iggy Azalea, Katy Perry, P!nk, Halsey and Charli XCX all condemning his words. Days later, a publicly-circulated petition that called for his resignation received more than 30,000 signatures, while an open letter signed by more than a dozen women executives in the music industry also urged his resignation, saying that Portnow was 'part of the problem.'"

3. TICKETFLY TAKES WEBSITE OFFLINE AFTER CYBER ATTACK: Event ticketing platform Ticketfly has taken its website offline after it was hacked. Billboard: “he company, which handles ticketing for events like Celebrate Brooklyn, Riot Fest and Music Tastes Good, confirmed the hack to Billboard on Thursday morning. 'Following a series of recent issues with Ticketfly properties, we’ve determined that has been the target of a cyber incident,' according to a Ticketfly spokesperson. 'Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken all Ticketfly systems temporarily offline as we continue to look into the issue. We realize the gravity of this decision, but the security of client and customer data is our top priority. We are working tirelessly to get our clients back up and running.' Visiting the Ticketfly site now surfaces the message, 'All Ticketfly and related systems are temporarily offline. Please check back for updates' and attempting to purchase tickets on the websites for individual concerts or festivals (such as Riot Fest, which just announced its lineup) leads to a '404 Not Found' error. t’s unclear when the hack took place, but users started noticing something was wrong with the Ticketfly site late last night around 9 p.m. PST. Ticketfly’s home page was defaced by a hacker calling themselves Ishakdz with a picture of fictional character Guy Fawkes and an ominous warning 'Your Security Down im Not Sorry.' On the site, the hacker is claiming to have access to Ticketfly’s 'backstage' database which one Ticketfly insider is telling Billboard stores client information for the thousands of venues, promoters and festivals that use Ticketfly."

4. POPE TO HOST PRIVATE CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE: Pope Francis is hosting a private conference next week at the Vatican to address climate change with executives of oil producers and investment firms. Axios: “Why it matters: It’s one of the most significant developments showing how corporations are working with other world leaders on climate change amid President Trump’s whole-scale retreat on the issue. Situational awareness: One year ago today, Trump announced his intention to withdraw America from the Paris climate deal, which now has support from every country except the United States. Three years ago, Pope Francis wrote his encyclical—a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church—on the importance of addressing climate change, a first in the church’s history. ... The big picture: The Pope, BlackRock and big oil companies are increasingly focusing on climate change as cleaner sources of energy have become more competitive, the impacts of a warmer world have become more apparent, and public pressure to address the issue mounts. This meeting reflects this convergence. The details: The focus of the gathering is similar to the encyclical ('On Care For Our Common Home') with an emphasis on the energy transition of a “shared home,” according to people familiar with it. The event is occurring late next week, with two people saying the Pope is likely to talk Saturday."


The 2018 salary survey from P.C.M.A.'s Convene magazine has revealed that event planners average a 46-hour work week, and 72 percent of planners got a raise in the past year. See the results here:

Event organizer Reed Exhibitions has appointed Rob Weinstein vice president of marketing. Weinstein was previously head of marketing at Men's Journal.


CHICAGO:  The 15th annual Wicker Park Fest will take place July 27-29.

LOS ANGELES:  Variety’s inaugural Path to Parity Summit will be held on June 6 at the Jeremy Hotel. The day will explore ways in which the entertainment industry can move forward to achieve true equality for women in executive suites, boardrooms, on set, and in the writers’ room. Attendees will include Mila Kunis, Gloria Allred, and Jill Soloway.

The Environmental Media Association will hold its inaugural Honors Benefit Gala on June 9 at a private estate. Ellen Pompeo will host.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Northside Media's 13th annual SummerScreen film and concert series will run every Wednesday in July and August in McCarren Park. Screenings will begin July 11, with films including Die Hard, Hackers, and Love & Basketball.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  Canada Wonderland amusement park will have its second annual Brew & BBQ Festival June 23-24. The event will serve more than 70 craft beers and ciders, and cuisine by the park's executive chef Dilup Attygalla.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Smithsonian magazine's 2018 American Ingenuity Awards will take place December 5 at the National Portrait Gallery. Called “the Golden Globes of Intellect,” the annual awards honor individuals across eight categories who are transforming American culture.

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Deirdre Jahn in New York.

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