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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.

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Nicholas Lemann: Yeah. I mean I don’t wanna get into that one, this who is and who isn’t a journalist. I mean basically we’re not a licensed profession. We don’t have to decide . . . Anyone who says he or she is a journalist is a journalist as far as I’m concerned. The person who does the horoscope for the newspaper is a journalist. The person who does the comic strip is a journalist. You know I really don’t wanna get all kind of huffy about saying, “This person is a journalist. This person is not a journalist.” The distinction with the difference to me is who goes out and does original news gathering? And you know most bloggers don’t. And the thing I would like to call the bloggers on is their claim that by virtue of sitting at home, you know, searching the Internet they are doing meaningful, original reporting; that should rank on a level with a reporter who goes on site and talks to people and sees it with his own eyes. And I don’t think that’s fair, but I don’t wanna say “No, bloggers are not journalists.” Journalism began, arguably, with people very much like bloggers – pamphleteers and other purveyors of individual opinion. I wouldn’t even call them quasi journalists. I would just call them journalists, but I would not call them reporters. They’re columnists basically.


Recorded on: 11/30/07





Nicholas Lemann: Are blogge...

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