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Get An Informed Mentor

by John on 03/24/2012

Becoming informed also takes friends. Another rule: Find an Information Buddy or Mentor.

This person should be someone who also sees all sides of the issues and someone who can send you conflicting and opposing information to increase your overall knowledge.  And your Info Buddy should also be enthusiastic about information gathering.

My intellectual mentor is Paul Seaver, a Dominican priest, who was also one of my professors at Providence College.

I’m fortunate to have Paul’s knowledge and friendship since the 1970s.  First, Paul is in his 80s but he is still as 
intellectually active as any 20 year old.  Second, he is very active on Facebook. He is constantly finding stories 
and articles from a wide range of publications and websites.  All I do is read his Facebook page.  Third, he offers 
quick short comments to give what I call balanced context — and some very witty insight.  Fourth, if you follow me 
on Facebook, you also get Paul’s intellectual mentorship which makes me look good.

Paul also deserves a lot of credit for my broadcast career and my intellectual curiosity.

When I was a junior at Providence, I was hired by the school to read to Paul, since he had an eye condition that 
restricted how long he could read.  (The new communication technology today made that reading job obsolete; Paul is 
self-sufficient thanks to a Kindle and services like Audible.)

So for an hour a day, I would read books aloud to him.  What an education!  There were books on the economy, 
philosophy, theology, psychology, and literature.  I can remember reading aloud Hemingway’s “For Whom The Bell 
Tolls” and finally understanding the modern poetry and rhythm of Hemingway’s prose but also the dialogue of his 
characters. 

But more importantly, Paul would allow me to stop reading and ask questions about what I just read that I might not 
have understood.  And yes, I still do it today.

Six years later I realized the other benefits of reading to Paul.  I was now a TV news reporter who had a 
surprisingly easy transition from the newspaper business.  One of the experienced reporters told me about a drill he 
used to help him with his narration of stories.  He would read a newspaper aloud for an hour a morning.  The theory: 
if you can make the written word in a newspaper sound  conversational than you can narrate anything and have it 
makes sense to a listener or viewer.

I called Paul and told him he had trained me for a job on TV without knowing it. 

Reading aloud for Paul and learning the nuances of the content, from Paul as well, has always helped me interpret 
the scripts or copy I am narrating or reading for broadcasting and shows.  One compliment I seem to always get is my 
ability to interpret copy correctly.  Too often people in broadcast news just read the words; they don’t emphasize 
the right words or add the dramatic pauses in the right spots to make you, the listener or viewer, understand the 
literal and possibly the deeper meaning of a story.

Thanks, Paul.

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