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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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January 15, 2008 1:44 PM

Big Think

Posted by Ryan Blethen

I stumbled across a intriguing new Web site yesterday called Big Think. The site incorporates video interviews with social networking. The line up of interviewees is impressive. Mitt Romney, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the list goes on.

The site's creators have made watching the interviews manageable by breaking them down by question. Click on the person you want to hear from, then click on the question you want to hear answered. Viewers can also participate with comments, and if registered you can submit questions to be asked.

My favorite interview is of David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker. Particularly good are his observations about what makes a good reporter (obsession and luck), and his take on the future of the New Yorker on the Web.

"If the New Yorker is done poorly on the Web, then it will compromise the New Yorker...and we've thought about this a lot. If we try to keep pace with the Web so that we are not checking things, so that it is not proof read, so that it is a mess, then we just become one more Web site and then I'm not quite sure what we are worth. If it's done with the same sense of standards and care then I'm happy to do it. Enthusiastic to do it."

I feel the same about newspapers, and our Web challenges.

Remnick might also have the quote of the year:

"Prediction is the lowest form of human endeavor."

Big Think is worth checking out. Its creators should be pleased with the wide range of people they have assembled for interviews. It will be fun to watch the site develop. Will it incorporate more content than interviews? Maybe hire reporters to produce stories?

Stay tuned.

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