Silver's advice to young journalists in the digital age

FiveThirtyEight

FiveThirtyEight.com founder and New York Times staffer Nate Silver delivered the Henry Pringle Lecture to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism graduates last week. He told them:

* Read everything, including academic papers, which Silver says many journalists miss. Some 
academics 
don't 
know
 how
 to
 write,
 but 
a 
few
 of 
them 
do,
 and 
there's
 a 
lot 
of 
wisdom 
there
 once 
you 
get
 used
 to 
parsing
 through 
the language.
"

* Learn 
how
 to 
be
 entrepreneurial. It's
 important 
to
 develop 
a 
sense
 of
 yourself
 as 
a
 brand
‐‐
don't 
let
 yourself
 become
 defined
 too 
narrowly
 because 
that
 will 
limit
 your
 opportunities 
as
 your 
career
 evolves.
"

* Learn how to make an argument. "
The 
reader
 is
 going
 to
 be 
asking
 you
 to
 develop a hypothesis, weigh the evid
ence, and come to some conclusion about it -- it's really very much analogous to the scientific method. Good journalism has always done this -- but now it needs to be done more explicitly."

* Learn how to work with data and statistics. "Statistics, to anyone who knows anything about them, aren't factoids -- 4 out of 5 dentists agree that Colgate is the best toothpaste, Uganda is the 118th most populous country -- but instead quanta of information that can be pieced together, just like all the other information that you collect as a journalist, to help you write stories and inform others about the world.

> Couric tells Boston U. grads: “Social networking is no substitute for being social"

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.

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