Nate Silver’s advice for journalists: Learn some math
We’re probably in the waning days of Nate Silver’s 2012 election-season star turn, but it’s worth tuning in to the Deadspin chat he did Wednesday for one very smart piece of advice to anyone interested in the information business:
MaxKuhl How important do you think it is for the lay-observer of politics to understand statistical forecasting? Do you anticipate broader understanding of statistics (from non-stats people) in the future, rather than broader hostility or ambivalence?
Nate_Silver_538 I think it’s important for reporters to be better versed in math, statistics, logic, economics, etc. A lot of this stuff isn’t all that complicated, so a little bit might go a long way. If I were running a gigantic news organization, I’d mandate that my [reporters] take a few math and stats courses.
There’s even more math in sports than in politics. Sports, of course, is the world Silver sprang from.
Take his advice. Understand numbers.