Pomp it up

You’re reading. Someone wants to know what you’re up to. Respond: “I’m becoming a better writer.”

Whoosh.

Nate Silver, founder of the FiveThirtyEight political blog (now affiliated with NYT), swings out of the magazine, screen or Kindle to pat you on the back.

NBC’s annual rundown of graduation advice and soundbites prompted me to follow up on the last post. Silver presented the Journalism Day address at the Columbia Journalism School a day prior to graduation.

His tips were less controversial than Reilly’s, but no less relevant.

• How to write a story: READ, think, write.

• Develop an entrepreneur’s sense of what your time is worth.

• Make an argument and give readers an analysis of the facts.

• Learn how to work with numbers and stats… and be critical of them.

• Your first commitment is to the truth.

One of my favorite pieces of advice came from another dip in the sagely well bucket of NYT talent via foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman. At Tulane’s commencement he painted a monstrous green line between statuses and standing up.

Facebook and Twitter didn’t topple Hosni Mubarak, Friedman said, it was a million people in the streets willing to die.

“So if you want to get something done in the world, never forget —ultimately, you have to get out of Facebook and into somebody’s face.”

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