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Denver struggling to get the growing number of 16th Street Mall goers to stick around

For most visitors, Denver’s 16th Street Mall is a essentially a hallway.

Only about 3 percent of people sat, shopped or stayed on Denver’s 16th Street Mall on a typical Sunday this summer, according to new data from the city.

The number of people sticking around the mall on a summer Sunday is essentially unchanged from 2015, despite the area seeing a 27 percent uptick in pedestrians.

Denver might need to add more seating, activities and better store fronts to get people to stick around, according to a report Denver City Planning Director Brad Buchanan shared during a forum Thursday.

The report shows that this summer 49 out of 1,795 people (or 2.7 percent) took time to hang out on the mall. That’s compared to 49 out of 1,419 people (or 3.5 percent) spending quality time on the mall in 2015.

People staying on the mall could help with some of the mall’s perception issues, the report indicates.

More people staying on the mall discourages soliciting behaviors from petitioners, homeless people, urban travelers and others, said Andrea Burns, spokeswoman for the Denver Community Planning & Development office.

Full findings on who is using the mall and how are expected to be released during the beginning of 2017.

Congress Finally Approves Funding To Fight Zika — But What Does This Mean?

After months of bickering, Congress agreed Wednesday to allocate $1.1 billion toward curbing the spread of the Zika virus, a primarily mosquito-borne disease that has raised public health alarms.

The package is part of a larger spending bill to keep the federal government running until Dec. 9. It comes as the virus — which can cause birth defects if contracted by pregnant women — is actively spreading in Florida. More than 3,000 cases have been reported in the continental United States, though most were contracted by people traveling abroad.

So what exactly has Congress done? And, from a public health standpoint, how much will it help? Here is a breakdown of what you need to know.

First Things First: A Reminder Of Why Zika Causes Concern

Zika is a virus that has been spreading globally since last year. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and also through sexual intercourse. The virus has already moved through African and Latin American countries. Currently, mosquitoes are carrying it in parts of Florida. Experts worry these mosquitoes will spread to other Gulf Coast states — such as Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, where hot, humid climates are particularly friendly to the insects.

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For most of the population, Zika doesn’t appear to be a huge deal. About 80 percent of people who are infected don’t show symptoms at all. Those who do typically suffer a flu or maybe a bad rash.

But for pregnant women, it’s a different story. Zika can cause severe birth defects in children — including but not limited to microcephaly, which stunts brain development — and has been linked to other complications in pregnancy.

It’s unclear how often those complications result, though, and researchers are still investigating other possible consequences Zika might have in terms of fetal development and for both mother and child’s long-term health. So, long story short: The virus can be incredibly damaging. How often that’s true, though, remains unclear.

This $1.1 Billion — What Will It Actually Do?

The funding consists of two pots: one, totaling almost $935 million, for efforts curbing Zika’s spread at home; and another, for about $175 million, targeting it abroad.

Domestically, the money’s split among prevention, responding to the virus and developing treatment. So far, there’s no vaccine or cure for Zika. Congress has approved $152 million for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is researching potential vaccines.

KHN Zika Coverage
— Reporter’s Notebook: Pregnant And Caught In Zika Test Limbo
— In Battle Against Zika, Researchers Seek Foolproof Test For Infection

— As Aerial Spraying Continues In Miami’s Zika Fight, Effectiveness Up In Air

— Women And Zika: Smart Questions And A Few Solid Answers

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OF KHN’S ZIKA COVERAGE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gets $394 million, which the agency can use in areas affected by Zika. Another $387 million is for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ public health emergency fund and will be used for activities like providing Zika testing and caring for people who have been affected by the virus.

That money will be essential in states and territories where Zika poses a threat, said Chris Gould, senior director for federal government relations at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. The CDC’s funds, for instance, could support programs that eliminate mosquitoes, monitor the virus and educate people at risk.

“This amount, even though it’s long overdue, still will certainly go a long way in terms of helping states get what they need,” Gould said.

On the foreign aid side, the money will go to the State Department to support activities such as evacuating eligible pregnant Americans from countries where Zika is spreading and helping hard-hit foreign nations address their own Zika issues.

How Does This Funding Amount Compare To What Public Health Experts Want?

This falls short of the $1.9 billion President Barack Obama originally sought. But it’s fairly similar to a package the Senate first floated in May. Here, the key difference is increased funding for domestic efforts, with less for the State Department’s international efforts.

How does this hold up, then? Public health advocates said more money, of course, would have been better but said this is a meaningful start.

In this measure, Congress provided less research funding than the NIAID requested — the agency would ideally get $40 million more, said director Anthony Fauci. That said, the funds should be enough to maintain “critical vaccine studies,” though the agency will have to trim other Zika work, he added, such as “more fundamental research” on the virus and its properties.

Also, the bill passed by the Senate in May snagged after the House of Representatives argued that Congress would somehow have to offset any new funding — repurposing dollars intended for use elsewhere, for instance — and pressed to include language barring Planned Parenthood affiliates in Puerto Rico from getting federal dollars.

Planned Parenthood isn’t mentioned in the final agreement. About $400 million of the new package comes from repurposed money, much of it originally meant for combating the Ebola virus and for implementing provisions of the 2010 federal health law.

Borrowing against Ebola funding is problematic, argued Lawrence Gostin, a professor at Georgetown University and faculty director of its O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. “That money is needed to fulfill our promise to be vigilant about Ebola,” he said.

Congress Has Been Fighting About Zika For A Long Time. Has That Delay Had Any Consequences?

Yes. Mosquito season generally peaks in the summer, though it’s certainly longer in states like Florida and Texas. So for many at-risk states, it’s too late to do any real prevention work — at least this time around.

For instance, it’s possible that Zika is being actively spread in states other than Florida, said Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. No one would know, he said, because there has not been enough money to support thorough surveillance.

“We will not know how well we’re doing until next April or May when we see if babies with microcephaly are being born,” he said. “We have to be on top of it — we have to hold our breaths until April or May.”

In the meantime, he added, while the funding may be too late to really make a difference this year, it could lay the groundwork to undermine future Zika threats.

So What’s Next? Is The Zika Problem Solved?

Probably not. While mosquitoes die down in the fall, experts say Zika will likely present a public health concern for the next few summers and that, in all likelihood, more money will be needed if Congress hopes to keep the virus at bay.

Right now, states should be able to appropriately respond to Zika with the funds Congress is allocating, Gould said, assuming the virus does not suddenly spread much more quickly than it has been so far. But there needs to be an understanding that “when this money runs out, Zika may not run out.”

“We’re not going to measure Zika in this one cycle,” Gould said. “We’re talking years.”

Auto slowdown signals narrowing of advanced-sector growth

Hazards ahead: That’s what data about the auto sector are signaling. Economic leaders and workers may want to buckle up.

Caution lights are definitely blinking for the auto industry – and the manufacturing sector more generally. This month, Metro’s new update on growth and change in America’s 50 critical advanced industries showed that output growth slowed markedly in the three major auto industries during the last two years while employment growth – still positive – leveled off.

Meanwhile, sales for the three top automakers selling in the U.S. slippedin July as the strong growth rate that has defined the past six years slowed to a crawl – another indication that growth is plateauing after a six-year boom. A few weeks ago Ford jolted the industry by saying sales have peaked and projecting a slower fall and a tough 2017.

As such, auto industries – with their long supply chains – contribute hugely to the prosperity of something like a quarter of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, arrayed along a corridor sweeping from the Great Lakes states into Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama. Immediately below you can see the distribution of large metro areas with elevated shares of their employment in auto. It’s a significant swath of the country’s Midwestern and Southern heartland.Auto-related industries, after all, delivered fully 70 percent of the nation’s advanced manufacturing employment growth during the last two years, given the slow growth other manufacturing industries experienced in the face of a strong dollar and global headwinds. In keeping with that, the sector has become a crucial source of innovation, output, productivity, and new jobs (90,000+ “direct” ones in the last two years).

Advanced industry auto share

All of which underscores that a further slowing of the auto sector – as appears to be beginning – could be an unfortunate development for the nation’s steady but uninspiring economic expansion. The auto industry’s recovery has been a bright spot for the U.S. economy, with the three major auto industries and four digital services delivering two-thirds of the nation’s vital and sustaining advanced-sector growth. If that goes away, the nation’s advanced sector and multiple states and metro areas will have to contend with a further narrowing of an advanced-sector growth base that is already too narrow.

Losing auto as a strong job creator would for one thing take away one of the nation’s few sizable sources of well-paying jobs for workers without a BA. The auto industry and other manufacturing industries are notable for continuing to pay decent wages to less-educated workers. The nation needs more growth from its most accessible high-value industries, not less! Similarly, a slowing of the auto sector would narrow the geography of growth across multiple heartland states and metropolitan areas. More dots would turn pink or red on the advanced industry employment growth map as hiring slowed. More regions would lose direct jobs, supplier jobs, and consumer spending

Advanced industry employment growth, 13-15

In that vein, a flattening of growth in the auto sectors could well emerge as a substantial issue in the first year of a new president’s administration. Momentum should keep hiring going through the election and keep a plateauing auto sector from worsening the distress already agitating the electorate in “battleground” states like Michigan and Ohio. But should auto growth slump and the mediocre 1.2 percent a year growth rate of the manufacturing sector slip further, the new president is going to be forced to address the status of the nation’s advanced-industries sector. Further slowing will make shoring up and expanding the advanced-industries sector even more imperative than it already is.

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Vevo Looks To Secure Up To $500 Million For “Aggressive” International Expansion

Right after announcing their deal with Warner Music Group (first hinted at here at Digital Music News), The Financial Times is reporting that Vevo has hired top banking firm Goldman Sachs to lock down between $300 to $500 million in capital from investors.

This move comes at a time when Universal Music Group and Sony Music Group, majority owners of Vevo, are reportedly trying to convert the video hosting service into a paid subscription service.
If the company is able to successfully raise the money, Vevo will use this money on aggressive international expansion, including “potential acquisitions” and brand new mobile and television services.

Just last month, Vevo rehauled their website and apps, and announced that it would start working on original programming. This isn’t very strange, as last year, Vevo hired Erik Huggers, who had previously worked led a team on the creation of the BBC iPlayer.


The news of Vevo’s fundraising efforts also comes at a time when the digital streaming market is heating up. Both Spotify and Apple are looking to branch out of streaming just music and turning their eyes into streaming videos as well in order to both solidify and grow their current customer base, with Spotify recently launching an original cartoon series.

Writing about Spotify’s original programming plans, Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw wrote, “Spotify is counting on video to bring in new customers and convince current ones to spend more time on the service.”

Apple Music appears to be following suit, with the company having recently bought out the rights to stream the popular Carpool Karaoke series.

Speaking on Vevo’s expansion plans, Billboard’s Andrew Flanagan wrote,

+A Free Social Network For Music That You Can Use To Distribution and Keep 100% of Sales
“If Vevo is unable to grab a significant number of eyeballs around the world, in a reasonable amount of time, its reason for existence will be difficult to justify.”

Wow! Facebook’s New Reactions: A Problem for Online Marketing?

Still no “dislike” button for Facebook. But it’s added the next best things.

Beginning Feb. 24, users can choose from six different reactions to friends’ posts: “like,” “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry.”

The social network rejected adding a “dislike” button, fearing that it would create a negative environment. But the new emoji reactions could cause other problems.

One obvious consequence is that they give users an opportunity to put angry faces all over the Facebook pages of political candidates they disagree with.

Beyond that, companies could use the new reactions for marketing campaigns.

Paying endorsers to “like” a product or business could be misleading, as there’s no space within the button to disclose that users clicked it as part of a paid campaign, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s updated guidance on social media endorsements.

Still, marketers may not be able to resist the lure of the new “love” button when taken with all the hype surrounding the new emojis.

Another possibility is that companies may lure users into clicking “sad” or “angry” on competing businesses’ Facebook posts. Although these reactions may not have the same effect as “dislike”—or written negative reviews—gathering a number of “sad” reactions could hardly be seen as beneficial when introducing a new product.

While businesses and political campaigns sort out the implications, though, Facebook users can have more fun than ever expressing their “love” and laughter for one another’s posts.

After 19 Years as EIC, David Granger Out At Esquire

David-GrangerOn the verge of his 20th anniversary at the title, David Granger is leaving Esquire, Hearst announced this morning. Replacing him will be Town & Country editor-in-chief Jay Fielden. Fielden has been the top editor at Town & Country since 2011 and will retain a role as editorial director of the title.

Granger is one of a few of the industry’s iconic magazine editors, helming a brand that has managed to see less than the usual turnover at the top editorial spot. The brand hit its 1,000 issue mark last September, which also saw the debut of a digital archive of every issue published since 1933. There were only ten editors prior to Granger.

Aside from rolling out the complete archive, Esquire has been a perennial finalist and winner of National Magazine awards, collecting 16 during Granger’s tenure.

More than that, though, in an industry where print has been so challenged both financially and philosophically, Granger has been exceedingly experimental with the print magazine, using it as a base to stretch into new opportunities—regularly driving radical design elements in the issue and on the cover, tinkering with e-commerce and augmented reality, offering long-form stories as one-off paid content products, and launching the cable Esquire Network.

“We’re constantly tweaking,” he told Folio: recently. “We don’t announce it, but we redesign every February. You have to be constantly thinking about what you can do better or more clearly or more simply.”