Would you believe it if I told you the biggest story of 2022 that could be found on Reel 360 News was about something that couldn’t be found? In early December, sister publication Reel Chicago legit went poof. As if Hermione, from Harry Potter, waved a wand and said, “Expecto Patronum.”
Only it wasn’t a joke.
Both news outlets, which still experienced another record year of visitors (928,972) and views (1,220,863), were insidiously hacked. Why? Who knows. The motivation doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that for 3 tense weeks, Reel Chicago went dark with the only way to deliver Chicago news on the back of Reel 360 News. And 360 was already on its own knees, gasping for air from the malware attack.
To you, it’s news. To us, the two outlets being attacked were much more. Stressful. Anger. Emotionally beaten up are adjectives that come to mind.
Understand this, Reel Chicago and Reel 360 News are passion projects for both myself and publisher Barbara Roche, who spent hours upon hours, while I slept, trying to get the beloved publication back online.
It’s an arduous task that neither of us signed up for when Ruth Ratny left the publication to Barb. It’s challenging enough running a seven-day publication, but to have a devastating hack like this-c’mon. That’s just waterboarding us and making us watch Blonde multiple times.
Here are some things you did not know about Reel:
Barb and I talk five to eight times a day discussing what stories to publish that day.
Barb works through the night to publish some of the hundreds of submissions and pitches we receive weekly.
I am up at 5:30 am writing and publishing as many articles as. I can before I start work.
It has just been mainly the two of us running two publications since 2020 when others, who didn’t share Barb’s vision, parted ways.
When Ruth Ratny published Reel Chicago, it was a three-day-a-week publication. Now, we publish seven days with a teeny, tiny team.
So, hacking us and decimating the site with malware, was a big F-U to myself and Barb. But where most people would have run, Barb stood tall. She was determined to keep Ruth’s passion, now ours, going.
Barb’s vision is grand. It’s passionate. It’s something that I share on the Reel 360 side. It’s what keeps us publishing news until the late hours of the night. We see how much it means not only to Chicago but the rest of the United States.
Now, why the hell am I telling you this? Giving you this proverbial peek under our hood?
Chicago needs us. But so does LA. And Minneapolis. And New York. And Philly. And San Francisco. Detroit. Austin. Dallas. And so many more cities. We publish the advertising and film stories the big guys won’t. We publish the union news and interviews with industry people you may not be aware of.
We go all out for you.
Now, we need you.
That need comes in the form of donations. We have an enormous bill that must be paid to continue running. We need money. Your money. Please? To donate to the Reel Chicago Fund, click here. If you don’t do it for us, do it for yourself. So you can remain informed.
As for the rest of 2022, there were a few other stories that nabbed the attention of our readers. Here is what stood out.
REEL 360 News top 22 stories for 2022
22. Cannes Lions: Ogilvy named Network of the Year
In June, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity announced that Ogilvy has returned to the coveted position of Network of the Year.
This crowning achievement reflects the strength of Ogilvy’s global creative network as 37 offices contributed to winning a total of 88 Lions throughout the festival including 1 Titanium Lion, 2 Glass Lions for Change Gold, 23 Gold, 21 Silver, and 43 Bronze, in addition to 163 Shortlists.
21. SAG-AFTRA and BAFTA react to The Slap
It was the “Slap” heard and felt around the world. On Sunday, March 27, at the 94th Academy Awards the festivities were interrupted by a violent altercation between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
After Chris Rock made light of Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss and shaved head with an insensitive and unscripted “joke”, Academy Award winner Will Smith took it upon himself to march up to the stage and slap Rock with an open palm.
20. Wait! What? Bob Iger replaces Bob Chapek as Disney CEO
In November, Disney announced Robert A. Iger would return as Chief Executive Officer. Iger was replaced by Bob Chapek in 2020.
Iger, who spent more than four decades at the Company, including 15 years as its CEO, agreed to serve as Disney’s CEO for two years.
19. SuperBloom hires new leaders for branded content
In June, SuperBloom House (SBH) hired the two creatives to lead a new era of branded content for their clients.
Adam Milano (previously of SYCO Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Live Nation) and Gregg Hirschorn (previously PHD Media, Group M), joined SuperBloom House as Head of Content Development and Head of Content Strategy, respectively.
18. INTERVIEW: VFX Oscar Winner Paul Lambert on Dune
In March, Reel 360 News Editor Colin Costello sat down with three-time Academy Award winner Paul Lambert to discuss the special effects of Dune.
17. INTERVIEW: Tracy-Locke CEO, Creative Chairman Mike Lovegrove
In September, Tracy-Locke introduced a new brand identity centered around the belief that there is no commerce problem in the world that creativity cannot solve.
Driving the strategic and creative vision of the move and more is Mike Lovegrove, CEO and Creative Chairman of Tracy-Locke.
16. INTERVIEW: Prey editor Claudia Castello
20th Century Studios’ highly acclaimed action-thriller Prey was the No. 1 premiere on Hulu to date, including all film and TV series debuts. We had a chance to chat with one of the film’s editors Claudia Castello
15. INTERVIEW: PeterMayer CCO Matt Kuttan
Matt Kuttan has been an influential creative contributor to agencies including Leo Burnett, Burrell Communications, Saatchi X, ICFNext and so many more.
Kuttan finally chose to take the show on the road to, what he called a “carousel of crazy creativity” in New Orleans at the agency, PeterMayer. He took in June.
14. DDB names Alex Lubar Global President & COO
DB Worldwide has named Alex Lubar Global President & Chief Operating Officer. This appointment is a strategic move to further strengthen DDB’s global leadership team under Global CEO, Marty O’Halloran.
13. REEL WOMEN: Global Marketing Specialist Briony McCarthy
Our annual REEL WOMEN spotlight featured Briony McCarthy.
A modern leader with a hands-on, muck-in-together style, Briony believes in fostering a democratic company culture where trust, teamwork and transparency come together to create work that is simple, scrappy and brave.
12. INTERVIEW: The Man Who Fell to Earth’s Clarke Peters
Acclaimed actor Clarke Peters has had an amazing career, spanning five decades and consisting of 110 TV and film credits.
His roles include a recurring part on HBO’s groundbreaking series, The Wire where he played Lester Freamon.
In Showtime’s (now canceled) The Man Who Fell To Earth, Peters played Josiah Falls, patriarch of the Falls family. Megan Penn had a chance to sit and chat with the 70-year-old icon
11. Watch Robin Meade’s final sign-off
“You will always be my morning sunshine,” is how legendary HLN anchor Robin Meade sadly parted ways with her devoted Morning Express audience earlier today.
In December, Meade’s epic 20-year streak came to an end, a victim of CNN’s CEO Chris Licht restructuring.
10. Cutters adds Caitlin Grady as Managing Director/EP
In August, high-end editorial boutique Cutters has announced the addition of Caitlin Grady to the role of Managing Director/Executive Producer of Cutters New York. The announcement was made by Cutters Studios President/Managing Director Craig Duncan and Cutters Editor Steve Bell.
9. Spoiler Alert: Entire Flash movie plot leaked
In June, a YouTube channel that leaked accurate plot synopses for The Matrix Resurrections and Godzilla vs. Kong prior to their releases exposed a full breakdown of The Flash script.
8. Wendy Clark to leave Dentsu Group
In September, dentsu Group Inc. announced that the role of DI Global CEO would be discontinued and Wendy Clark would depart DI, on December 31, 2022.
7. WarnerMedia and Discovery close merger
In April, WarnerMedia and Discovery finalized their plans to merge.
The new company combined WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading non-fiction and international entertainment and sports businesses.
6. Chicago-born actress Lindsey Pearlman found dead in LA
In February, TV actress, Lindsey Pearlman, who appeared on Chicago Justice and General Hospital, was found dead Friday, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. She was 43.
Pearlman was reported missing on February 13 by her family and friends. She was last seen on February 13, 2022 at 12:00 p.m., on the 1600 block of North Mariposa Avenue.
5. Havas Group opens first virtual village in Metaverse
In February, the real world and the virtual came together in the metaverse, offering an immersive and augmented Havas Village experience.
Using rich programming, exclusive content, connected animation and gamification, the Group will organize conferences, events, concerts, product launches and more. Havas Group’s role is to support brands in the development of their communication strategies.
4. James Gunn, Peter Safran to run DC Studios
In October, WBD CEO David Zaslav appointed filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran as co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Studios, a newly formed division at Warner Bros. which will replace DC Films.
Since their appointment, there has been a lot of controversy in decisions made such as the canceling of Henry Cavill as Superman after audiences were promised he was returning.
3. Black mortgage applicants are denied 84% more often than whites
Black applicants were denied a mortgage at a rate 84% higher than that of white applicants — a big jump from 2019, when the disparity sat at 74%.
In the U.S., 19.8% of Black applicants are denied a mortgage, the highest among all races, and much higher than the 10.7% of white applicants who are denied. Black applicants have the highest denial rates in Mississippi (31%), Louisiana (26.1%), Arkansas (26%) and South Carolina (25.8%).
2. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
Where were you when this happened? On June 24, The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.
The landmark decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to abortion had been in existence since 1973. Next year would have been its 50th anniversary.
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That sums up the best of our 2022. It was a successful year, even with the hack. See you on the flip side.
Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1