Walter Isaacson, former chairman of CNN and editor of Time magazine, sat down with Purdue President Mitch Daniels to discuss technological innovation Wednesday night. 

The stage was set in Loeb Playhouse as C-Span clips of Isaacson played behind the 150 years of Giant Leaps banner.

One of the subjects discussed was the question of what makes up a genius, such as the ones Isaacson has written biographies about.

“First of all, I don’t think there is one specific formula,” said Isaacson about what constitutes a genius.

“It's creative people,” he continued. “Imaginative people that will amount to something, people who think different, like Steve Jobs."

Isaacson said the people crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Isaacson elaborated on what being a genius means.

“Genius means thinking outside of the box to me,” he said.

From there, the two began to discuss changes in media and the way that things are covered today in news compared to the past.

Isaacson mentioned how 10 years ago media wasn’t so competitive when it came to broadcasting stations and newspapers.

“When we were growing up, there were three networks, let's say three news magazines, three national newspapers,” Isaacson said.

He said the news industry back then was more difficult because they had to interest one third of the population in order to succeed, where now they only need to attract one percent of the population since there is so much competition.

“So I was there when we were trying to hold the center at CNN,” Isaacson said. “And I finally left because I knew that center wasn’t going to hold.”

Isaacson also discussed a lack of common information today, referencing people being able to watch all sorts of niche news shows now.

“I feel that there is still room in our society for what I would call the common ground,” Isaacson said, insinuating there could still be some news format that wasn’t biased.

“They don’t even share the same facts,” Isaacson said, continuing to reflect on the need for some common ground media.

Isaacson and Daniels then discussed a problem they saw in modern media not always being factual but more focused on getting the news out first, despite its accuracy. 

Daniels said he was grateful for narrow eyed editors such as Isaacson who still put emphasis on making sure the story is accurate before it goes to the public.

“Nowadays, the fact that you don't try to get it right," Isaacson said. "You just try to get it out there is what is wrong.” 

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