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Nate Silver Went Against The Grain for Some at The Times (NYT / Public Editor’s Journal)
I don’t think Nate Silver ever really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that. He was, in a word, disruptive. Much like the Brad Pitt character in the movie Moneyball disrupted the old model of how to scout baseball players, Nate disrupted the traditional model of how to cover politics. A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. The first time I wrote about him I suggested that print readers should have the same access to his writing that online readers were getting. I was surprised to quickly hear by email from three high-profile Times political journalists, criticizing him and his work. They were also tough on me for seeming to endorse what he wrote, since I was suggesting that it get more visibility. FishbowlNY This is all understandable. Old people don’t like change, and writers have egos. And maybe Silver acted a bit too above everyone else and that earned him some pages in the Times’ burn book. HuffPost / The Backstory On Monday afternoon, this reporter asked Silver about the Times public editor’s column, whether he felt constrained by the Times newsroom culture, and if he had enough support from colleagues. “I had plenty of support, I felt, from [executive editor Jill Abramson] and from other key people at the Times,” Silver said. “I don’t really want to dwell too much to my relationships there. It was not — I would say, I love the people at ESPN.” Silver added that any cultural issue was “not a big factor” in his decision. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer “I’m interested in running a website, building out a business here, and having my opportunity to weigh in on different topics,” Silver said, responding to Times public editor Margaret Sullivan’s comments. “I’m not interested in who I’m getting a beer with. I have plenty of people in my social circles for that.” TheWrap / MediaAlley In a conference call with the press, ESPN president John Skipper said FiveThirtyEight will be similar to Bill Simmons’ Grantland, which is also owned by ESPN. The FiveThirtyEight name and URL were purchased for an undisclosed amount. Previously, Silver owned those rights and licensed them to The New York Times for a three-year contract. Its deal with Silver is a “long-term, multi-year deal.” TVNewser Put another way: If Silver leaves ESPN in a few years, FiveThirtyEight will not be going with him, but rather staying with ESPN and ABC. paidContent Silver stressed that “we’re not pulling back from politics. We’ll probably hire at least one more person to cover politics fulltime” and said that the new site’s only guaranteed coverage areas will be sports, politics and some economics. As for other topics, “if we find the right person, we might hire in that vertical… We’re looking for people who can think, do math and write. Those skills don’t always overlap, so it’s going to be an intense search process for us.” TVNewser Silver’s migration from the Times to ESPN represents more than a new URL — it augurs a sea change in the news business itself, experts say.
Posts Tagged ‘Nate Silver’
By now you know that Nate Silver is leaving The New York Times for ESPN. And you’ve probably read 73 articles about why he left. Well, courtesy of Margaret Sullivan, the Times public editor, we have more information on his departure. Apparently, quite a few people at the Times didn’t like ol’ Nate.
In a column, Sullivan writes that Silver’s method of covering politics — an emphasis on numbers, not blabbering — rubbed some staffers the wrong way:
A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. The first time I wrote about him I suggested that print readers should have the same access to his writing that online readers were getting. I was surprised to quickly hear by e-mail from three high-profile Times political journalists, criticizing him and his work.
Not only that, but when Silver’s status began to rise, several Times staffers became jealous teens:
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Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight Blog to Join ESPN Staff (NYT)
Nate Silver, the statistician who attained national fame for his accurate projections about the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, is parting ways with The New York Times and moving his FiveThirtyEight franchise to ESPN, the sports empire controlled by the Walt Disney Company, according to ESPN employees with direct knowledge of his plans. At ESPN, Silver is expected to have a wide-ranging portfolio. Along with his writing and number-crunching, he will most likely be a regular contributor to Olbermann, the late-night ESPN2 talk show hosted by Keith Olbermann that will have its debut at the end of August. In political years, he will also have a role at ABC News, which is owned by Disney. Politico / Playbook Early this year, the Times laid out a plan that would give Silver a staff of six to 12 bloggers to focus on a variety of topics, modeled on Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog at The Washington Post. The plan was so specific that it named Megan Liberman, an up-and-coming deputy news editor at The Times, as Silver’s editor. As recently as last month, some executives at the Times were confident Silver would stay, mainly because they had given him everything he had asked for. New Republic ESPN has been trying to land Silver for at least five years. Gary Belsky, a one-time editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine and now a content consultant and contributor to Time, told me Saturday the original effort had been spearheaded by Gary Hoenig, then the general manager of ESPN Publishing, and that the original plan had been for Silver to write for the magazine and ESPN Insider, a collection of paywall-protected premium content on the Web. Daily Beast One thing that is clear, however, is that Silver’s move marks a potentially big loss for the Times. “He was doing something that is fairly rare in journalism — he was doing the math. I say that not entirely jokingly. Journalists are notoriously bad at this,” says Dan Gillmor, a journalism professor at Arizona State University. “For people who care about this sort of thing, it was pretty delicious to watch someone doing the math and to see pundit after pundit make fools of themselves with their ‘intuition.’”
The 2013 Mirror Awards were handed out today. Below is the complete list of winners. Congrats to all. Also, here’s a look back at the finalists.
Best Single Article – Traditional/Legacy Media
Best Single Article – Digital Media
Best Single Story – Radio, TV, Broadcast, Online
- Doug Crews, Beth Pike, Stephen Hudnell & Scott Charton, ”Deadline in Disaster,” Missouri Press Association
Best Profile – Traditional/Legacy or Digital Media
Following his chronicling of 2012 film awards season via The Frontrunners, Fandango chief correspondent Dave Karger is down in Austin with the site’s senior director of PR Harry Medved and editor-in-chief Chuck Walton to officially launch his new Web series, Weekend Ticket. The program will debut on the site March 14 and feature SXSW interviews with Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Paul Walker, Josh Duhamel and Paul Rudd (or, as Andy Samberg so hilariously referred to Rudd during the Spirit Awards, Paul “Reeud”).
Karger hinted when we spoke with him not long ago that he would be making use of the formidable Nate Silver-like predictive data gathered from the site’s ticket buyers. Sure enough, Weekend Ticket will be sourcing a new weekly indicator also unveiled at SXSW:
“Fanticipation” ranks fan excitement around upcoming and current movies based on Fandango’s proprietary data collected from its online and mobile traffic, the social media engagement of its fans and its advance ticket sales…
To whet your appetitie, here’s Silver’s take on if he’d ever unveil the formula that he uses:
I’d certainly like to aim to increase the level of disclosure at 538 going forward. Sometimes what happens is that I have best intentions to write a super detailed, 5000-word methodology post, and then some senate candidate does or says something stupid, and I get caught up in the news cycle and it gets forgotten about. Which is a pretty lame excuse, I know. At the same time, 538 is a commercial business and the ability to license proprietary intellectual property is a fairly big part of how I make my living, so the disclosure would probably stop short of outright releasing source code or my database in most cases.
It’s awards season! Get excited. Unless you don’t ever win awards, then just listen to your favorite Jewel record and curl into a ball until you feel better. Anyway, here’s one award among many: Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, has been named I Want Media’s 2012 Person of The Year.
Peretti was the clear favorite among I Want Media’s readers, grabbing 39 percent of the vote. He beat out Nate Silver, Tina Brown and Anderson Cooper. According to I Want Media, Peretti deserved to win:
Peretti and his BuzzFeed team attracted much press coverage in 2012, as they aspired to create a new model for Internet journalism. Peretti, a co-founder of the Huffington Post, described his site’s model as social publishing — one that mined the growing number of people sharing news and other content on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Best known for viral fluff like ’50 photos of cat heaven,’ BuzzFeed this year made moves into serious reporting and took an ambitious plunge into longform journalism.
FishbowlLA braved the harsh L.A. drizzle on Thursday night to hit Skybar, where BuzzFeed staffers and friends were celebrating the launch of the website’s new Los Angeles bureau. Top BuzzFeed brass was in attendance: CEO and founder Jonah Peretti, president Jon Steinberg, editor-in-chief Ben Smith, executive VP of video Ze Frank, and probably more we didn’t recognize.
We spotted Nate Silver in the crowd, as well as Julia Boorstin of CNBC, comedian Chelsea Peretti, LA Times VP of Communications Nancy Sullivan and former Good magazine editor Ann Friedman, who tolerated some gushing on our behalf over her delightful Tumblr and column, #Real Talk.
But we don’t have pictures of any of these lovely people, because we forgot our camera. We only managed this one grainy cell phone picture before giving up and hitting the open bar:
At the Business Insider Ignite media summit in New York, New York Times editor Jill Abramson said that she “would love” to keep FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver in the company through at least the next election.
“He got huge, huge readership. Half the people coming [to NYTimes.com] searched for Nate, they weren’t coming for the rest of the Times, they came for him,” Abramson said. “You hope they will be tantalized by other things on the buffet table.”
Abramson says that the Times could help Silver expand beyond the data-based political reporting for which he has become a household name:
Nate Silver, the numbers guy and author of FiveThirtyEight, absolutely crushed it last night. Silver had come under fire for his presidential predictions — most notably from Joe Scarborough and Dylan Byers, of Politico — but as the results rolled in, it became clear that he correctly called the way each state would turn. Scarborough has yet to say anything about Silver’s good night, but Byers did tweet “Nate Silver nailed it.”
The video above features Silver speaking with The New York Times’ blog editor Megan Liberman about the results. To his credit, Silver didn’t take the opportunity to gloat. He did, however, post a perfect tweet after Obama was declared the winner: