In his 45 years as a reporter and columnist, the last 42 at the New York Times, Thomas Friedman has plenty of stories to tell. He shared some of them with an audience Wednesday at the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall.
“I write to learn,” Friedman said.
His lecture was less about the personalities he’s met and his most memorable stories, and more about why he writes, and how he writes. He considered himself an anthropologist as much as a journalist.
He explained his writing method, “I translate from English to English.”
Beirut was one of Friedman’s first foreign correspondent outposts. He said he saw great evil, and great kindness.
He also had an admission. In addition to reporting the war, he was tasked with the daily weather updates. He made it up, eliciting laughter from the Saroyan Theatre crowd.
There were universal messages, Friedman shared whether reporting from Beirut, or dealing with your children.
“Listening is a sign of respect,” Friedman said.
Friedman also took questions, talking about Israel-Palestine, China and Russia.
Regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war, Friedman said only Vladimir Putin knows what is going on in the mind of Vladimir Putin. Hostilities start and stop with him.
Constitutional Scholar Next Lecturer
Next up in the lecture series is Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School constitutional scholar.
Feldman will discuss the evolution of the Supreme Court, and an analysis of today’s top cases.
The lecture is scheduled for Feb. 22 at 10:30 a.m.
Others remaining on the season schedule — UCSF medical professor Susan Lynch (March 15); Bob Woodward of “Watergate” reporting fame (March 29); and actress and activist Marlee Matlin (April 19).
GV Wire is a sponsor of the SJV Town Hall.