Yes! Reading good!

On what may be a game-changing correlation between literacy and speaking ability

I’d say about 70 percent of my work here is reading.

It’s a total firehose-drinking experience, from the morning news intake at 5:30 a.m.-ish, to the perpetual fact-checking, to the aggregations I pile up.

I also read articles by the USAT editorial writers — who I sit exactly one file cabinet away from — first of all because it’s my job, and second of all because they’re actually such masterful writers.

The file cabinet that separates the paycheck’d from the stipend’d. Missing: Dan the writer.

But I do thank the firehose and the ed writers, and I bless the invisible god of the 24-hour news cycle, because I have been putting away more beautifully-written prose than ever before.

Still, I can do better.

At a dinner I went to last night, out of all the welcoming tables of normal people, I unwittingly chose to sit, like an idiot, at the table of some of the most well-spoken actors in the conservative journalism world. They had me looking for teleprompters.

Just so it’s clear, I have nothing against those good-talking people; it’s just that when people speak so good, I tend to not speak at all.  It’s a problem I’m working on.

One of those guys would later go up to the lectern and say that 90 percent of his workday is taken up by reading news, including RedState, WaPo, RealClearPolitics, National Review, NYT and WSJ. So, I thought, more reading means … better speaking!

My newfound mania for around-the-clock reading said, “Yes! Reading good!”

But it’s undoubtedly more feasible for an editor with the eyes trained to read what he needs to read and abundant time to do it.

And for me, it’s probably a whole slew of other factors that affect how much I speak up in conversations, including confidence, and maybe confidence.

So, I’m open to book and news site suggestions. I’m still a teething bookworm compared to these titans, but the plan right now is to keep reading as much good writing as I can. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be up to par in the speaking field as well.


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