The New York Times Company and Vice Media Group have made Juneteenth an official company holiday this year. They join a host of other publishers – including BuzzFeed, Condé Nast, Dotdash Meredith, G/O Media, Hearst and Vox Media – that give employees Juneteenth off to commemorate the date that marked the end of slavery in Texas and became a federal holiday when U.S. president Joe Biden signed a bill into law in 2021.
Previously, The Times and Vice Media Group made Juneteenth a flexible holiday, where employees could use extra PTO days given in 2020 and 2021 to commemorate the day.
That’s still the case at the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, which has given additional flexible paid days to employees since 2020.
As part of The Washington Post’s diversity and inclusion initiative announced in June 2020, employees were given two extra personal days each year to “use at their discretion,” such as for days of cultural, religious or personal significance – employees were given those days last year and this year, a spokesperson confirmed. The Los Angeles Times employees receive the same (the extra paid day is called a “cultural day off”).
Holiday negotiations at the Times
The Times announced back in January that non union-represented employees would get Juneteenth, Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Veterans Day off this year for the first time. As for the Times’ union-represented employees, it’s a bit more complicated.
That same month, The Times Guild – which represents over 1,300 reporters and media workers and is organized under the NewsGuild of New York – filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, launched a petition and held a negotiating session with management to get the holidays off for its members as well, according to Jim Luttrell, senior staff editor at the Times and grievance chair at the Times union. Juneteenth was made a holiday for union members a week later, he said, citing a shop paper – an internal memo to union members – sent out Feb. 1.
The union is still negotiating to get Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Veterans Day as paid holidays for its members. Employees that are part of the Times’ Wirecutter’s union follow the same company holiday calendar as employees not represented by the NewsGuild, per their contract.
“In the cultural period we’re in, I think we’re all sensitive to issues surrounding groups that have not been treated fairly or who have suffered in some way or another,” Luttrell said. By giving the holidays to some employees but not others, Luttrell felt the company’s management was using the holidays “to divide people,” he said.
“For our New York Times NewsGuild-represented employees, we’ve reached an interim agreement to provide Juneteenth as a holiday for this year, while we continue to negotiate with the NewsGuild on a new collective bargaining agreement that will cover paid time off and holidays,” a Times spokesperson said.
Earlier this week, BuzzFeed’s director of diversity, inclusion, belonging and learning & development Dionna Scales sent a memo to employees to announce the holiday and providing information about its meaning.
“BuzzFeed began observing Juneteenth as a U.S. company holiday in 2020, as one step in facilitating a work culture where employees feel seen, heard, respected and included. We are committed to expanding this work – to build a culture around a shared sense of belonging and actively supporting anti-racism,” Scales wrote in the memo sent out on June 15.
“We honor Juneteenth again this year against a backdrop of ongoing racial injustice and tragic events targeting Black communities in the U.S. As systemic racism continues to be pervasive in our culture, it is critical that we use this time to advocate for Black communities, both in and out of the workplace,” it continued.
The memo contained a list of Black-owned businesses, and encouraged employees to shop at minority and Black-owned businesses. The list was created in partnership with BuzzFeed’s B.I.O. and Complex BLK employee resource groups.
Publishers’ host Juneteenth events and special coverage
Employee resource groups (ERGs) – which are employee-led groups at companies usually formed around shared identities or life experiences, such as gender, race/ethnicity, religious affiliation or interest – have planned special events at media companies like Vox Media and Dotdash Meredith to commemorate Juneteenth.
Vice’s POC community group (the company name for its ERGs) hosted a Juneteenth celebration in the Brooklyn and Venice offices on June 16. The company is also hosting an all-day event on June 18 in partnership with Adidas, called “Run By Us,” to celebrate the Black running community and promote its new documentary series “Running While Black.”
Media companies are also launching editorial initiatives and programming around the holiday. Vox launched an editorial initiative in partnership with nonprofit news organization Capital B examining the history, significance and impact of Juneteenth. It went live on June 15. Its other publications like NowThis, Thrillist, Punch and The Strategist are publishing social media stories, recipes and interviews around Juneteenth too, respectively.
Special coverage at the L.A. Times includes a portrait series highlighting Black culture in L.A., which was shared on Instagram and will be in Sunday’s newspaper. A Juneteenth event will be held on Saturday as part of the L.A. Times’ Eat See Hear outdoor movie series.
Hearst Magazines and Oprah Daily launched “Future Rising,” an editorial package celebrating the impact of Black culture on American life. It features interviews with 50 Black trailblazers, from astronauts to medical researchers. Sponsored by Lexus, the series is running across 12 Hearst brands.
One of the most irritating (and slightly painful) parts of joining a Microsoft Teams call could soon be fixed by a new update.
The video conferencing service is a popular choice for many companies, meaning calls with large numbers of participants joining at the same time, and from the same location (such as a meeting room) are a common occurrence.
However, often when multiple people join a meeting in the same room, a feedback loop is created, which causes echo, which in most cases quickly escalates to howling – with Microsoft likening the noise to when a musician holds the mic too close to a loudspeaker.
Fortunately, a new fix is coming for Microsoft Teams users. In its entry in the official Microsoft 365 roadmap (opens in new tab), the new “Ultrasound Howling Detection” describes how it aims to prevent this noise for users on Windows and Mac across the world.
Microsoft says that the update should mean if multiple users on laptops join from the same location, it will share with the user that another Teams Device is detected in their vicinity and is already joined with audio to the current meeting.
If a user has already joined with their audio on, Microsoft Teams will automatically mute the mic and speakers of any new the person who then joins the call, hopefully putting an end to the howling and screeching feedback.
Thankfully, the update is already listed as being in development, with an expected general availability date of March 2023, so users shouldn’t have to wait too long to enjoy.
The new updates are the result of using a machine learning model trained on 30,000 hours of speech samples, and include echo cancellation, better adjusting audio in poor acoustic environments, and allowing users to speak and hear at the same time without interruptions.
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK’s leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he’s not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods lands in theaters on March 17. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)
The final trailer for Shazam! Fury of the Gods has debuted online – and it looks even more charming, funnier, frenetic, and darker than its predecessor.
Shazam’s sequel flick arrives in theaters worldwide on March 17, so it’s about time we were given another look at the forthcoming DC Extended Universe movie (read our DC movies in order guide to find out where it’ll fit in that timeline). Luckily, Warner Bros. has duly obliged. Check it out below:
Okay, there’s some messy CGI and a slightly corny vibe about Shazam 2. But hey, the first problem can be ironed out before the superhero film takes flight, while the latter is part of what makes this movie series spellbinding (see what we did there?).
But we digress – you’re here because you want to find out what you missed from Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ new trailer. Below, we’ve pointed out six things you might have overlooked. So, what are you waiting for? Shout “Shazam!” and let’s dive in.
1. Who are the Daughters of Atlas?
For a film centered around Shazam, we don’t actually see the titular superhero appear in the official trailer for the first 20 seconds.
Instead, we get another glimpse at Fury of the Gods‘ villains, aka the Daughters of Atlas. The powerful trio comprises the power-hungry Hespera (Helen Millen), dragon-riding Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Athena (Rachel Zegler), the latter of whom seems particularly torn about how the sisters are going about their business.
So, why are they gunning for Shazam and his superpowered foster siblings? Essentially, when Billy Batson was gifted his abilities by Djimon Hounsou’s wizard in the film film (available now on HBO Max), one of those powers was the Stamina of Atlas. The Daughters of Atlas aren’t too happy about their father’s ability being passed down to a child, so they want to take back what is theirs – and they’ll do it so by any means necessary.
2. Mythological monsters
Shazam’s first DCEU outing featured some horror-imbued creatures in the form of the Seven Deadly Sins. How, then, do you go about topping (or, at the very least) matching what came before? Throw in a bunch of myth-based monsters, of course.
Kalypso’s imposing dragon is the most notable inclusion. It feature prominently throughout the trailer, and we even get an amusing Game of Thrones reference from Shazam – “Hey, Khaleesi!” – in the movie. Hey, Warner Bros. loves to mention its suite of IPs in as many of its films as possible.
But Kalypso’s wyvern isn’t the only fairy-tale-based beast we see. Minotaurs, griffons, and demonic unicorns are just three of the other monsters who’ll turn up in Fury of the Gods. Basically, don’t expect this to be an easy fight for Shazam and company to save the world.
3. You can’t get the staff these days
Saving earth from a new titanic threat will be even harder when Shazam’s adoptive family are stripped of their powers, too. And it seems that the staff, which was wielded by Hounsou’s wizard in the first movie, is the key to giving and taking those abilities away.
In 2019’s Shazam!, the titular hero gave powers to his foster siblings to help him combat the Seven Deadly Sins and Doctor Sivana. They’ve still got those power in Fury of the Gods, too, but they won’t have them for long, based by what the trailer suggests.
The footage shows Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield being drained of their abilities by the Daughters of Atlas at various points. The trio are using the wizard’s staff to rob the teens of their powers, so it’s clearly of major importance to the movie’s main players.
Later, we see Shazam wielding it – not before he asks the wizard to take his powers back, mind you, when he becomes convinced he can’t defeat the Daughters of Atlas. Anyway, Shazam’s brandishing of the staff suggests he needs it to boost his own abilities if he’s going to defeat the movie’s antagonists and give his siblings their powers back. Expect the staff to play a vital role in Fury of the Gods‘ plot, then.
4. Prison break
In order to get the wizard’s staff, it seems the Daughters of Atlas go after Hounsou’s magic wielder to obtain it.
We see Hounsou’s character imprisoned at various points, including a shot of Hespera chastising him for giving the power of the gods to Billy, Freddy, and company. “You ripped it from our father’s core,” she tells him, which implies Hounsou’s wizard might not be as mighty and heroic as we were led to believe.
Anyway, Hounsou’s wizard interacts with Shazam later in the trailer, so he clearly escapes captivity. Whether he does so alone, or he enlists Shazam’s help – does that magic-infused dust, which he sends through his prison cell window, have something to do with it? – is unclear. Regardless, we’ll see Hounsou’s character break out at some stage.
5. Is that you, Doctor Strange?
Remember when we said Zegler’s Athena doesn’t seem as keen to destroy earth as her sisters? That’s because, at the 1: 14 mark, we see her use her powers with a uncertain look on her face. You wouldn’t look like that if you were convinced you were doing the right thing, would you?
Based on the fact she’s pushed away by Kalypso (using the staff no less), seconds later, it seems she’ll be swapping sides at some stage.
Interestingly, it seems the wizard’s staff can do more than give or take a person’s powers away. One perceived ability certainly has an air of the Doctor Strange/Marvel-based mystic arts about them. Just look at the Escher-style nature of how the scenery bends and folds in on itself when Athena is pushed back, and when Shazam evades numerous buildings at the 1: 44 mark. We’d be very surprised if DC and Warner Bros. didn’t take a leaf out of the MCU’s book with such an aesthetic.
6. Light the way
Shazam and his fellow superheroes get a costume upgrade in Fury of the Gods. The group’s threads are more streamlined and less plastic-looking this time around, which is pleasing to see.
Fans had been worried, though, that these suits wouldn’t feature one of the first movie’s most underrated (if somewhat tacky) aspects: the glowing lightning bolt on Shazam’s chest. Shazam’s costume in the 2019 movie was manufactured in a way that allowed the bolt to physically light up, avoiding the problem of having to add awkward lighting effects during the post-production phase.
Thankfully, Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ official trailer confirms that Shazam’s lightning bolt will glow. However, given the sleeker look of the costumes this time around, it appears that the illumination effect has been added in post. Regardless of how it’s been implemented, we’re just glad it’s a feature that’s been retained.
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Jokes aside about Chrome’s incognito mode, the ability to open a private tab for sensitive browsing is incredibly useful. You can perform searches that you want to keep from affecting your recommendations or appearing in your search history—which applies as much to tax information and medical questions as anything more scintillating.
And now on all phones and tablets, you can protect your incognito tabs from prying eyes by locking them down. A quick tweak to Chrome settings on iOS and Android makes biometric or PIN authentication required to view your private tabs whenever you leave the app and then return. It’s an extra layer of protection for when you forget to close a tab when you’re done—easy to do if you’re constantly hopping between apps. No need to worry about banking info sitting unguarded, for example.
Trying to feature out for yourself is easy. If it’s rolled out to your Android device (or if you’re only now trying it on your iPhone or iPad), just tap on the three dot menu in Chrome, then Privacy and Security. Toggle on Lock Incognito Tabs When You Close Chrome. Now when you switch away from Chrome and then come back, you’ll have to pass an authentication check before you can see and interact with those private tabs again.
For folks who use incognito tabs more on mobile than dedicated apps, this feature is a very welcome addition—and one I hope to see come to desktop computers next. I leave my incognito windows open on PC for long stretches way more often than on a phone or tablet. I haven’t yet met a browser window stuffed with tabs that I didn’t like to keep around. And sometimes I’m reading up on something I don’t want roommates to know about; other times, I have private correspondence I’m working on that I really don’t want to be seen.
I can always lock my PC, but I occasionally forget to slam my fingers on Win + L before dashing off to deal with an overflowing pot or vomiting cat. The best alternative is setting up Dynamic Lock in Windows, but that only works if you move far enough away from your computer to trigger the auto-lock. It unfortunately doesn’t prevent someone also in your kitchen from wandering by your screen and teasing you about your recent discovery of r/illegallysmolcats. Ask me how I know.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.