Articles about "Nate Silver"

Nate Silver: Pulitzer-winning newspapers aren’t immune to circulation losses

A newspaper's Pulitzer Prize count has very little effect on its circulation losses, Nate Silver found after a spin through some data:
Does that mean that newspapers might as well forget about quality as an economic strategy? That’s not what this data says. There is a relationship between Pulitzer Prizes and circulation (the correlation is .53 among the 50 newspapers listed here). It’s just that this relationship hasn’t changed much from 10 years ago. The vast majority of newspapers have seen their circulations decline; the ones that win a lot of Pulitzers have suffered about as much as the ones that don’t. You could spin this result as a negative for high-quality journalism — newspapers that win Pulitzers are doing no better at retaining their readers — or as a positive — almost all newspapers are struggling, but the ones that win Pulitzers continue to have more readers.
Silver looked at daily circulation figures, which led to some strangeness: The Times-Picayune dropped 100 percent by his count, for example, because it no longer publishes daily.

Increasingly, though, it's nearly impossible to wrest any meaning from the circulation figures publishers report to the Alliance for Audited Media. The data are, as Silver might say, very, very noisy.

Some papers count average daily circulation as Monday through Friday. Some do Monday through Saturday. Others, like the Times-Picayune, break out circulation data by individual day. At any rate, Sunday is "by far the most valuable audience for advertisers," Rick Edmonds wrote in 2012.

Here's what I wrote last October about circulation in Louisiana in September 2013: (more...)

What it takes to create a new kind of journalism

During the night, I tossed and turned over this question: What does it take to create something new in journalism and make it stick? The question was inspired by a Jay Rosen post tracking the progress of Nate Silver’s new … Read more

Isolated diversity tree with pixelated people illustration. Vector file layered for easy manipulation and custom coloring. Depositphotos

Why journalism startups should look past traditional talent pools

The launch of Nate Silver’s new, ESPN-funded version of FiveThirtyEight is here, with its data-centric approach to journalism that could reinvent news for the digital age — or at least make it better. And while Silver’s brand of journalism may … Read more


FiveThirtyEight and the rise of the lengthy personal-brand manifesto

Along with the rise of the personal brand has come the rise of the personal website manifesto.

The form has various purposes: to sell readers on the business model (Andrew Sullivan); to rail against punditry (Nate Silver); to set a high bar and a high price (Jessica Lessin); to test newfound F-bomb freedom (Bill Simmons); and to let people know things mostly will be business as usual (Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg). (more...)

FiveThirtyEight launches, promises to break news ‘rarely’

The new FiveThirtyEight launched Monday under ESPN's auspices. In an article welcoming readers, Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver says the fact that he called the 2012 presidential election "was and remains a tremendously overrated accomplishment." It only stood out "in comparison to others in the mainstream media," Silver writes.
Silver: Will attempt to generalize (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
But prediction won't be FiveThirtyEight's raison d'être, Silver writes. He's far more concerned with generalization:
No matter how well you understand a discrete event, it can be difficult to tell how much of it was unique to the circumstances, and how many of its lessons are generalizable into principles. But data journalism at least has some coherent methods of generalization.
That approach "takes time," he writes. "That’s why we’ve elected to sacrifice something else as opposed to accuracy or accessibility. The sacrifice is speed — we’re rarely going to be the first organization to break news or to comment on a story."
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James Wolcott writes about “Name-Brand” journalists like Ezra Klein and Nate Silver:

In some college communication and writing courses, playing social media like a harp is considered as integral to future success as teaching your paragraphs how to roll over and fetch. I’m just glad I came along when the writing game was mostly a matter of fighting your way up Pork Chop Hill with long naps in the foxhole and didn’t require daily, hourly upkeep and depend upon the kindness of mouse clicks. Raising a brand from infancy, nurturing it, tending to it as it teeters around the track, sprucing it up when it gets stale—it sounds exhausting, like being a stage mother, a helicopter parent to your own career.

James Wolcott, Vanity Fair


NYT’s Leonhardt: The Upshot staff will ‘serve as navigators for the news’

Facebook | Mashable | The Guardian David Leonhardt explains his vision for his upcoming "startup" publication at The New York Times, which will be called The Upshot.
Imagine that you were sitting down with a journalist and could ask any question about the news. Which parts of Obamacare are working, and which parts are not? Is Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, really in danger of losing his seat this year? Is it better to buy a home or rent one in your metro area right now?
"Our biggest goal is to serve as navigators for the news," Leonhardt writes. "We’ll be conversational without being dumbed down." This urge to explain also drives another forthcoming startup, the Ezra Klein-edited Vox, whose tagline is "Understand the news." Nate Silver's soon-to-be relaunched FiveThirtyEight chose a fox for its logo, because of an Isaiah Berlin parable in which a hedgehog "views the world in a simple fashion, with one big defining truth," Sam Laird reports. "But the fox sees a world of nuance, a world that can be approached from multiple angles and contains multiple truths from multiple perspectives." The fox also needs to diversify, Emily Bell wrote Thursday, saying that in the "rush to revolutionize journalism, the protagonists are almost exclusively – and increasingly – male and white." The fact that these startups reflect legacy journalism's diversity problem don't let them off the hook, Bell argues:
Women tend to have to choose in the newsroom, even digital-first newsrooms: serve others, as an editor or commissioner, or be your own presence as a journalist/columnist/blogger. The leadership in the new (new) journalism do both, and their founders would not for one second have thought they had to choose.

FiveThirtyEight to relaunch March 17

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight will relaunch March 17, ESPN President John Skipper announced Saturday at South by Southwest as he introduced Silver and Grantland's Bill Simmons for a panel on personal media brands.

While talking about leaving The New York Times and deciding to partner with ESPN, Silver criticized old media brands for being "being slow on their feet and not having entrepreneurial spirit." They have no concept of return on investment, he said. (more...)

In an excerpt from a story about Nate Silver’s planned relaunch of, Jack Dickey writes about Silver’s hiring practices. Silver graphs potential employees:

The bottom two quadrants belong to the dregs of American journalism: on the left, sportswriters who cherry-pick statistics without thinking through them, and on the right, op-ed columnists. “That’s the crap quadrant. Two-thirds of the op-ed columnists at America’s major newspapers are worthless,” Silver says. He hates punditry, he hates narratives, he hates bold proclamations — and so too does he hate the media’s most willing vessels for all three.

Jack Dickey, Time

Ezra Klein (AP Photo)

Skepticism about Ezra Klein is the new being happy for Ezra Klein

Many media observers initially greeted news that star blogger Ezra Klein planned to form a new journalistic venture with side-eyes aimed at his soon-to-be-ex-employer, The Washington Post. Since Klein announced Sunday that Vox Media would back his new operation, skepticism has rebounded in Klein's direction. Grab your safety goggles, Ezra: • The Web, "so elemental in making Ezra Klein a big and sudden success," Jack Shafer writes, "is also his biggest threat."
None of the wildly successful websites — not the Huffington Post, the Gawker galaxy of sites, the BuzzFeed verticals, Glam Media’s properties, nor Vox Media — can rely on a moat to protect them from new competition because 1) no regulation prevents new Web entrants, 2) thanks to Moore’s Law and more, the costs of entry keep falling, and 3) unless tethered by contracts, talent can easily become new competitors (in other words, any Ezra that Ezra discovers will likely pull an Ezra on him).
Yes, you. They're talking about you. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)