What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Walt Mossberg: So in 1990, by then my designation at the [Wall Street] Journal was National Security Correspondent. And at that time at the paper, what that meant was that you were the person in charge of covering the Cold War, U.S.-Soviet relations, NATO and that sort of stuff.

I had a very good colleague whose title was Diplomatic Correspondent, but he covered more Latin America, Central America, Asia. Obviously we had bureaus on the ground in those places. He covered U.S. policy toward those areas of the world; but I covered U.S.-Soviet, which was the big deal.

Remember this was in the first Bush administration, the first President Bush. And this was the concluding few years of the Cold War – the end of a 50 year struggle against communism; and the collapse of communism; the liberation of Eastern Europe; the reunification of Germany.

And I got to cover all those things, and it was amazing. Obviously we had reporters on the ground in Berlin and Moscow and places who wrote a tremendous amount. But I got to cover the U.S. diplomatic and military end of these things.

I also was involved in covering the Gulf War in 1991 for the Journal on our team – not in the region, but in Washington, in terms of the policy, and the strategy, and the diplomacy, and lining up the coalition and all that stuff.

So I was doing all that, and I was motivated to change what I was doing. And the reason was partly personal and partly journalistic. Personal reason was I was traveling all the time, all over the world on the airplane of the Secretary of State, who was at the time James Baker. And it was phenomenally exciting and a great professional opportunity, but I wasn’t seeing my kids enough. I have two sons who were, at the time, I want to say 12 and 9 or something like that.

And the trips were not within your control. If the Secretary of State decided, or the President decided to send him to go meet with Gorbachev and the King of Saudi Arabia and five other people, they would call and say, “We’re leaving. Are you going to cover this?” And if you didn’t cover it, the newspaper would lose its seat on the airplane. They only had a very limited number of press seats, and the big news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal, got a claim to one of those seats. But you would lost it if you didn’t go.

So that meant you couldn’t plan things like being there for the school play, or whatever it is that your kids needed you for.

The other problem was once you left, you didn’t exactly know when you were coming back. They would say, “Oh we’re leaving on Tuesday. We’ll be back on Saturday.” But in fact on Friday, the President might call and say, “I need you to do three more cities,” and so the trip would go on until Monday. 

And again professionally, it was very wonderful and exciting. And I still had the occasional reunion with the people I traveled with. But it was not good for you as a father.

I personally am very much against mixing the editorial pages of newspapers with the news pages; or the editorial views of television networks with the news reporting. But it’s an old tradition to demarcate that this is a column. This is your sports article on the game. This is your sports columnist. And the readers understand that the columnist is an opinion guy, even though he’s not on the editorial page. Or your movie reviewer is an opinion person. You may have a feature article, a news article about the making of some movie, and that’s expected to be objective. The guy that reviews the movie is expected to be subjective.

 

Recorded on: Sep 13, 2007

 

 

 

Journalism

Newsletter: Share: