FiveThirtyEight to the NYT

by Henry Farrell on June 3, 2010 · 6 comments

in Uncategorized

The NYT announces the deal here.

The New York Times said Thursday that it would begin hosting the popular blog FiveThirtyEight and make its founder, Nate Silver, a regular contributor to the newspaper and the Sunday magazine.

Mr. Silver, a statistical wizard, became a bonafide media star during the last presidential election season for his political projections based on dissections of polling data. He retains all rights to FiveThirtyEight and will continue to run it himself, but “under the banner and auspices of,” The Times said in a news release. The arrangement is similar to one The Times struck with the authors of the blog Freakonomics in 2007.

This plausibly says interesting things about where journalism (and, obviously, the NYT in particular), are going. Newspapers have traditionally been highly allergic to statistics, charts and the like, in the belief that they turned readers off. FiveThirtyEight has demonstrated that there is a sort-of-mass readership for this kind of material, if it is presented in the right way. That the New York Times has bought licensed the site – and is seeking to integrate Silver into its broader operations – suggests that it wants to tap into that market.


Keith Smith June 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

So will this mean that if I want to keep 538 as part of my morning reading I’ll have to subscribe to the Times once it introduces its metered pay wall next January?

Sebastian June 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm

that’s great news. I hope that this means they’ll replace the “graphical columnist” Charles Blow – I never know if I’m more annoyed by how boring his columns are or by how bad the graphs printed with them…

erik nisbet June 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm

You might want to correct the post, they havent bought the site. They have licensed the content on the blog for 3 years while Nate retains editorial control, He is not an employee, simply a contractor producing content distributed through NYTimes.

Henry June 3, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Thanks – will do

Bill Petti June 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

“Newspapers have traditionally been highly allergic to statistics, charts and the like, in the belief that they turned readers off.”

Except for the NYT–they have been at the forefront of incorporating statistics and data visualization into their reporting. This actually seems like a natural extension of that.

Cristóbal Palmer June 5, 2010 at 12:59 am

Interesting. 538 has gone from blogads (still in left sidebar) to csmads (right sidebar), to NYT. He won’t do it publicly, but I’d love to hear Nate comment on that path.

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