Nate Silver on Journalism Day

Allow us to take advantage of our ability to post at leisure, and direct your attention to the 
Lecture, delivered by Nate Silver to the graduating class of the Journalism School early last week. Yes, Bwog may be more likely to prick up our ears at the title “Advice for Young Journalists in the Digital Age” than the average undergrad, but Silver provided much nuanced commentary on the changing ways we read and write, that is applicable to all students. We have unprecedented privilege in our access to news, and have a duty to be responsible consumers of it, if not producers.

Silver licensed his politics blog, FiveThirtyEight, to the New York Times last year. His career path leading up to this, involving a miserable consulting gig, baseball predictions, and poker, is interesting enough in itself. However, his main advice was the following:

  • Read anything and everything
  • Be entrepreneurial
  • Learn how to make an argument
  • Understand how to work with data and statistics

Hopefully this has piqued your interest enough to check out his full speech. And as for those last two points, you may want to look at opportunities to get involved in debate; and at the Statistics course offerings (they count for the science requirement,) and of course their CULPA listings. Now that there is extra wiggle room in course registration, you might find yourself interested in dipping a toe in the water.

Photo via Columbia Journalism