Sunnier Side of the Office – August 19, 2019

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"It’s where taco dreams really do come true,” Jennifer Arnoldt, Taco Bell’s Senior Director of Retail Engagement and Experience on The Bell, Taco Bell's pop up hotel.

A New Reality for News
By: Ben Thomas

I recently read an article that made me rethink my relationship with the news (if you have a spare 15 minutes, it’s well worth a read). Among other things, the article talks about the pervasiveness of news delivered through our smartphones, causing a generation of people living in a constant state of anxiety. We’re overwhelmed and overcome by a seemingly endless torrent of bad things happening in the world, all delivered with a friendly ‘ping!’ on our phones. 

It’s called “news fatigue” and it’s enough to make people want to disconnect completely, and switch off for the sake of their own mental health and emotional wellbeing. Which is exactly what some people are choosing to do.

News fatigue is particularly pronounced in Gen Z, a generation of young adults that have grown up in an attention economy where the most sensational headlines are the ones that get the most clicks. In response, apps like Sift are changing how Gen Z engage with news, delivering stories in a more thoughtful way, and providing context and calm as opposed to causing distress and sense of panic that has become the new normal.

CBS and Viacom Merge to Become ViacomCBS
By: Arthi Veeraragavan
CBS will be merging with Viacom to create ViacomCBS. Current Viacom CEO, Bob Bakish, will become CEO of ViacomCBS. 

“Today marks an important day for CBS and Viacom, as we unite our complementary assets and capabilities and become one of only a few companies with the breadth and depth of content and reach to shape the future of our industry,” Bakish said in a press release. “Our unique ability to produce premium and popular content for global audiences at scale – for our own platforms and for our partners around the world – will enable us to maximize our business for today, while positioning us to lead for years to come.”

The merger will allow CBS to increase their content offering significantly, allowing the CBS All Access streaming service to compete with companies like WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Amazon, Netflix, and Disney.

Lil Nas X, Tik Tok, and History
By: Ben Evangelista

Lil Nas X. Say that name at the dinner table with your family and at least 75% of the table will know the name. What started as a viral Tik Tok song in December 2018 made history last week for becoming the longest-running Number 1 single on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. 

Lil Nas X has surpassed stars like Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Justin Bieber, and even the Beatles, having occupied number one for 19 weeks. He recently came out, publically, and was featured on the cover of TIME magazine.

Nas X’s song was originally denied from the charts as his song wasn’t deemed “country” to begin with— sparking a Billy Ray Cyrus cameo on his remix that brought about this wave of success. While musicologists argued whether his trap-country mix could be a legitimate “country” track, Nas X was determined to continue making music and not allowing his career to stop at the usual 15 minutes of fame. 

It’s become evident that a much larger cultural shift is in play, as Nas X's latest track “Panini” already has impressive streaming stats on Spotify, clocking in at 149 million. Tik Tok opened up the doors for his path to fame— a skyrocket that most people thought would fizzle out. But what do 19 weeks on the Billboard charts say about us today? It says we’re open to a new alternative form of celebrities (dare I call Lil Nas X an influencer? Was that his plan?). And we’re always rooting for an underdog. We ingested and scrutinized a song by a Tik Tok user, and we catapulted it to fame, opening the door for a new wave of social media stars to be born. 

MTV launched in 1981 with the music video for "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles. The MTV Video Music Awards air next Monday, August 26th at 8PM ET on MTV.
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