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“I Write to Learn” Renowned Journalist Tells Fresno Crowd

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New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman talked about why he writes during the Town Hall lecture series in Fresno. (GV Wire/Johnny Soto)
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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.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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