off the record
Superstar statistician Nate Silver avoided addressing stories about departures at The New York Times but did say that his FiveThirtyEight blog won’t exactly compete with his old employer when it relaunches.
Around the town
There was a time when a journalist fortunate enough to land at The New York Times would only leave if he or she was forced out, incentivized with a lucrative buyout or dead.
Helen Thomas, the longtime White House reporter and first female president of the White House Correspondents Association, died on Saturday at the age of 92. (Washington Post)
Nate Silver is leaving The New York Times for ESPN once his contract with the paper expires in August. He’ll also contribute political reporting and Oscars coverage to ABC. (Times/Politico)
Fox News host Geraldo Rivera tweeted and then deleted a mostly-nude selfie yesterday. The caption: “70 is the new 50.” (Mediaite)
The Fray Lady
Nate Silver, we are so onto you. On election night, the rest of the world was riveted by your New York Times Five ThirtyEight blog–which received 20 percent of the website’s traffic! With the rest going to an article about people worried about post-Sandy weight gain!–and you became a genius twice over by predicting the voting breakdown of all the states. Now you are our MATH GOD, who used statistical magic to re-elect Barack Obama.
Except we know what this was all about. You were just using the election as a viral marketing scheme to promote your new book, in which you explained how your dark arts were actually just science that anyone could do. (But not really, and only if they read your book.) Your honor, I present the following evidence to the court …
Imagine your first two months as an editor at The New York Times.
You sell your house and car in Buffalo, move to the Flatiron District, plunk down in the Times newsroom and one by one take public swipes at your new colleagues—the incoming CEO, the celebrity profiler, the foreign desk in war-torn Libya, the nation’s most popular political forecaster.
“The role of public editor isn’t to be a friend,” Margaret Sullivan, the Times new public editor and first woman to hold the title, told The Observer from her office in the third-floor newsroom.
In a short time, Ms. Sullivan has taken what was previously a low-profile emeritus post for pre-retirees and transformed it into a bully pulpit of sorts. Rather than filing biweekly print columns like her predecessor Arthur Brisbane, she is tweeting, blogging and interacting with commenters. She has modernized the role of the public editor—a curious job, to be sure—and put more than a few ink-stained noses out of joint.
Occupy Wall Street
Margaret Sullivan, The New York Times public editor, is not amused by golden-boy statistician Nate Silver’s latest antics.
This afternoon, the FiveThirtyEight blogger and Times writer challenged Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough to a 21st century type of duel. The terms? If Barack Obama wins, Mr. Scarborough will have to pay up. If Mitt Romney wins, Mr. Silver will pay. The wager? A $2,000 (it was raised from the original $1,000) donation to the Red Cross. The method for laying down the challenge? Twitter, of course. It is 2012, after all.
Paul Krugman weighed in, twice; MTV picked up the story after rapper Talib Kweli showed up. And now we have Nate Silver with a chart to explain it all. “In the early days of the protests, which began on Sept. 17, coverage was all but nonexistent in the mainstream news media,” writes Mr. Silver. “It has increased significantly in recent days, however, and is now beginning to rival that given to Tea Party protests in April and May 2009.” Even The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart picked up on our “from blackout to circus” meme.
Numbers machine Nate Silver said hello to New York Times readers this afternoon with his first post to fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com.
“Fundamentally, I’ve always seen FiveThirtyEight’s mission as being parallel to journalism,” wrote Mr. Silver. “Therefore, this is a pretty natural partnership. But I also recognize that this will lead to greater criticism and Read More
Numbers man Nate Silver will now be blogging under the “banner and auspices of NYTimes.com,” according to a release from the paper this morning.
Mr. Silver gained national attention in 2008 for his analysis of polling data during election season. In a Times profile that year, Mr. Silver’s father recounted a time when his son, Read More
Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight has some bad news for David Paterson: he’s the least powerful governor in the country.
It was a complicated calculation: Silver took each governor’s approval rating, and adjusted it to compensate for each state’s population size and partisan makeup, and came up with a -44 score for Paterson, Read More