The Problem of Perception

Charles L. Ballard is a graduate of Princeton, an economics professors at Michigan State University, and a consultant to nations. He's also a noted author, most recently publishing a book titled Michigan's Economic Future, an analysis of the state's economic crisis and crucial policy issues.

So what's his response when WILX TV 10 in Lansing asks him why polls show only 33 and 26 percent of new MSU and UM grads, respectively, plan to stay in Michigan?

"Our image is the rustbelt instead of the greenbelt or the sunbelt," Ballard said. "It's going to take a lot of very aggressive marketing of our potential."

Thanks to the power of Google technology, I've added a newsroll at the left of this page which tracks and pulls in news media stories that include the terms 'Rust Belt' or 'Rustbelt.' I've only been playing with the feature for a day. But the story count seems to be numerous.

I've also set the search feature to track those stories which include the terms 'Blue Belt' or 'Bluebelt.' You might notice the hits are limited, and often refer to a karate degree or some type of fish. Not America's Great Lakes.

In other words, the term is available to title a new narrative - complete with a strategic policy, investment, and marketing campaign - that aims rebrand the Great Lakes in a way that puts the Rust Belt image in the history books.