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 NYTimes.com,” 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.

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