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Walter Isaacson visits with student media organizations

One of the 21st century's most influential thought leaders spoke with students on March 31 to discuss the news industry, his professional experiences, and what future members of the media may encounter. 

Author and journalist Walter Isaacson visited with members of The Pendulum and Elon Local News during an informal discussion on March 31. 

​A few hours before presenting Elon University’s 2016 Spring Convocation address, celebrated author and journalist Walter Isaacson sat down for an informal discussion with members of the university’s student media organizations.

Fifteen students, representing The Pendulum and Elon Local News, flipped the tables on one of the country’s most influential thought leaders, posing questions about his experiences and insights working in the news industry. The former chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine spoke frankly while discussing a myriad of topics, including his own difficult transition from print to broadcast journalism.

During the nearly hour-long conversation held in The Pendulum newsroom, students also asked Isaacson a few pointed questions, such as how can they differentiate themselves in the job market. Not surprisingly, the best-selling author noted strong writing skills are always in high demand, and having a specialty or interest – e.g., athletics, crime, etc. – can be beneficial.

A captive audience of aspiring reporters and writers spoke with Walter Isaacson before his Spring Convocation lecture.

​In his response to a question from Associate Professor Anthony Hatcher, Issacson noted that despite the growing number of new media outlets, and the transition of the news industry from print to online, the fundamentals of news writing “continue to hold up.” Regardless of the news outlet, readers continue to want to know the who, what, when, where and why of every story, he said.

Issacson is currently the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C. His 2014 book, "The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution," is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet and the other recent innovations.

Additional photos from Issacson's visit with the student media organizations are available here.

Tommy Kopetskie,
3/31/2016 4:10 PM