Friday, January 18, 2008


You may have read about BigThink.com in today's The Daily Pennsylvanian, "A Video Site for Intellectuals." As DP staff writer Jessica Bell explains, "Bigthink.com is a multimedia site that features interviews with prominent public leaders, including authors, politicians, educators and businessmen." Upon viewing sections of the site, visitors can post comments/responses to what they've seen.

Currently in its beta release, BigThink's mission as stated on the website is this:

"This is a digital age, one in which a wealth of accessible information empowers you, the citizen-consumer. But where is the information coming from? How accurate and unprocessed is it, really? Ask yourself this: how empowered do you feel debating a television screen or a newspaper? Our task is to move the discussion away from talking heads and talking points, and give it back to you. That is BigThink's mission. In practice, this means that our information is truly interactive. When you log onto our site, you can access hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers. You can search them by question or by topic, and, best of all, respond in kind. Upload a video in which you take on Senator Ted Kennedy's views on immigration; post a slideshow of your trip to China that supports David Dollar's assertion that pollution in China is a major threat; or answer with plain old fashioned text. You can respond to the interviewee, respond to a responder or heck, throw your own question or idea into the ring."

For what it's worth, when I went in to take a look I notice there's a Media & the Press section which features Tom Freston, one of MTV's founding executives and former CEO of Viacom, Gillian Caldwell, Executive Director of WITNESS, an international human rights organization that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy capaigns, and Josh Lieb, producer for The Simpsons and The Daily Show. Other experts featured on the site include Annengberg alum/AARP CEO Bill Novelli, Penn President Amy Gutman, columnists David Broder and Paul Krugman, New Yorker editor Davide Remnick, Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, to name a few.

Could this be the return of the public intellectual?

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