Some items from this year’s Beloit College Mindset List:
Incoming college freshman…
– have always lived in cyberspace.
– have always been able to see Starz on Direct TV.
– have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
– have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
– grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.
– have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.
– watch television everywhere but on a television.
I called Beloit College professor and Mindset List co-author Tom McBride to see what kind of coverage the list is getting this year.
“I’ve had probably 35 to 40 calls from reporters. They started coming in on Friday when the embargoed list went out.” Callers included reporters from the AP and Christian Science Monitor, he says.
“After the list came out, it’s mostly been radio stations in big cities” that called, says McBride. “Over the years, there’s been a shift more and more away from major TV appearances — the big ‘Today Show’ interviews and others in New York, those have tended to fall off. What’s taken their place is radio, Internet and newspapers.” (The Mindset List on beloit.edu is averaging 123,000 hits per hour, he says.)
I asked the prof if TV talk show producers stopped interviewing him because they figured, “been there, done that.”
“I think part of it is that networks don’t have the money to fly you out [from Beloit to New York] at the last minute the way they used to.”
The list debut debuted in 1998; how much longer does the 67-year-old McBride plan to compile it?
“We hope to do it until the year 2016 because if we can get that far, for the class of 2020 we can say that as long as this class has been alive, there’s always been a Beloit Mindset List.”
* Beloit College Mindset List, 2016 (beloit.edu)
UPDATE: I called the editor of the Beloit Daily News — a paper I delivered for two years in the late 1960s — to see how they played the local college’s list. “It was page one, above-the-fold yesterday,” says Bill Barth, although “it probably has more followers around the country than it does here actually.”
The editor adds: “We had no idea this was going to gather this kind of national attention when they started it. …It was more of a regional thing at first.”