Every year, Beloit College puts together “the mindset list,” which reflects the worldview of each incoming class. Initially a way of saying to colleagues “watch your references,” the list has turned into “a globally reported and utilized guide to the intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness.”
I noticed the 2016 list floating around the web today – and it really is entertaining. I don’t know the average age of the researchers compiling these lists, but I can see how ‘looking down’ on a generation – not used pejoratively, I merely mean from an outside perspective – impacts what we think they may or may not know.
I’ll admit that I too often agree wholeheartedly with this Jim Gaffigan tweet:
So yes, there are things I disagree with; but there are also several that make me feel old, and several I’m guilty of myself.
Here are my thoughts on the 2016 list:
1. They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
Dakota Fanning should not be in college.
3. The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
Do I only find this ridiculous because I attended Catholic school for 13 years?
12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
This is awesome – and more cause for befuddlement when things like Augusta letting their first women in and a moron having ridiculous notions of the female reproductive system are happening in 2012.
24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves
when gay groups have visited.
After reading through the list for 2016, I went back and looked at the list for my class. And there are a more than a few things that have me a bit rankled:
1. I know who the Jolly Green Giant is. Shrek is a different thing, not to mention, an ogre.
8. Since when were tattoos considered chic? Highly visible? Sure. Chic? No.
12. I refuse to let you call it the Willis Tower.
19. I know what R.S.V.P. means.
51. This is not even remotely true. On what classic rock radio stations are you listening to Britney Spears, Beloit College?
52. I have, in fact, been Saved By The Bell.
I know the answer to the age old question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I think. After a thorough examination of what interests me and what’s out there, not to mention an incredible conversation with a Michigan alum, I know that I want to be an account planner. Now it’s just a matter of getting there – and I’ve gotten some great advice to get me started.
Wait, I majored in sport management.
Well yes, I don’t want to work in sports anymore. But it doesn’t even matter. This is going to sound very Hokeish, but Michigan is Michigan. To be in a network of alumni where one random graduate – who I found after scouring LinkedIn with just an inkling of what I thought I wanted to do – is so willing to offer advice to a fellow Wolverine? That’s awesome. I couldn’t be any happier to have gone to Michigan as I am right now.
Speaking of –
I haven’t been at school since January. I go back ON MONDAY. To my senior year – which is absolutely terrifying but exciting all the same.
I’M SO EXCITED. GO BLUE.
A study conducted by Say Media indicates more and more voters are going “off the grid,” increasingly less likely to view traditional television ads.
Zac Moffatt, digital director of the Romney campaign and co-founder of political research group Targeted Victory, has observed these trends through his own research. On the Democratic side, several research firms concur, with studies showing that “more than 40 percent of likely voters prefer alternative video sources to live TV.”
With the explosion of alternative viewing sources, smartphone usage, and social media, how can the campaigns hope to reach these “off-the grid voters?”
Traditional TV ads may still be the norm, but social media is gaining steam. President Obama won the social media battle in 2008, embracing the medium even before it became inherent to a campaign’s success; and thus far, he seems to be ahead of the game yet again.
Upon news of Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate , the Obama campaign took to Tumblr to educate voters on their newly introduced opponent.
Adweek writes, “In a little over an hour, the picture and caption have received nearly 2,000 notes on Tumblr (including reblogs and comments) and been passed around in political circles on Twitter. Plus, news organizations active on Tumblr have even reblogged the post with commentary.”
Tumblr has provided an opportunity for campaigns and news sources to get “casual” with constituents – photos, gifs, and irreverent humor are the norm. This sort of casual relationship may be key to attracting those who no longer consume traditional media, instead taking to streaming services like Netflix or their DVRs.
Politico has noted that the addition of Paul Ryan to the Romney campaign adds significant a social media presence, with Ryan quickly surpassing Vice President Biden in number of “likes.”
It remains to be seen how they will respond to this latest bit of snark on the Obama side, but it is clear that the battle will be fought in the digital realm, and quite possible that the election is decided in the same. With more than 40% of likely voters preferring to view their media in non-traditional ways, it is only fitting that the candidates invoke non-traditional methods to win their votes.
Is CNN going the way of MTV?
Responding to a New York Post report on CNN’s entrance into the reality TV business, the news giant released the following statement:
CNN, which recently announced the hiring of Anthony Bourdain as a contributor, is continuing to explore other nonfiction original series for the weekend. We routinely pursue new talent and programming concepts within the news category and often shoot pilots for any number of our networks.
While we can quibble about the difference between ‘non-fiction’ and reality television, I think CNN is making a savvy decision.
Ted Turner’s network is known for breaking news. Hurricane Katrina, the Aurora shooting, election results: these are the things Americans turn to CNN for. Without breaking news, however, we’re more likely to tune into MSNBC or Fox News – depending on our political persuasion.
Even before the much talked about SCOTUS flub, CNN’s ratings were on a downward trajectory. Ted Turner defended the slide by emphasizing his vision for the network – a vision quite in line with their position as “the breaking news network” I discussed above:
I thought that for the long-term, that would be the best position to be in, even if the ratings weren’t the greatest. If you had the most prestige and you were the network that everybody turned to in times of a crisis, that was the most important position in the news business to hold.
While this may be true (and I can see his point; I, for one, autopilot to CNN for breaking news updates), the decision to produce quality weekend programming – beginning with Bourdain – is a much needed departure from CNN’s traditional thinking, and possibly just the beginning of a ‘shake-up’ the network desperately needs.
Bourdain, leaving his long-time gig at The Travel Channel, talked to Adweek about his departure:
There are a lot of places where me and my team have been wanting to make television for a long time and haven’t been able to. And CNN has the infrastructure and inclination to make those places doable…Getting to do a show in, for instance, Libya, would have been very difficult. We have contacts all over the world, but you’ve got to get there.
As a big fan of Bourdain and ‘No Reservations,’ I may be partial to this sort of programming. Some may question its place on a “hard-hitting” news network, but we’re not talking about Keeping Up With The Kardashians or The Real Housewives of Wherever, we’re talking about documentary programming.
I think it is drastic to say this decision can be compared to MTV’s decision to stop playing music videos, as an outside producer told the Post. In response, media writer Gabriel Sherman tweeted, “Kind of difficult to make the argument you’re a news network when you want to do this,” but other news networks feature similar documentary-style programming on the weekends (Fox News’ War Stories with Oliver North, MSNBC’s Lockup).
The inherent idea that CNN is in dire need of a paradigm shift if it wants to stay competitive in the media landscape is the right one.
This shift, beginning with the imminent departure of CNN president, Jim Walton, is meant to drive change at the network. In an internal memo, Mr. Walton told employees, “CNN needs new thinking. That starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.”
In the midst of an identity crisis, a new leader with a new vision may be just what CNN needs. Major content decisions will likely be held until the regime changes in December, but the network appears headed in the right direction, realizing that it must change with the times if they hope to rebound from this extended slump.
I don’t believe this change will mean an MTV-esque shift to all-reality programming, but I do believe that a new perspective can lead to better reporting, solid programming, and a new identity that will, hopefully, emerge stronger as a result.