HuffPost now has an all-female polling team

The Huffington Post has replaced outgoing polling honcho Mark Blumenthal with Natalie Jackson, which the outlet says injects some much-needed gender diversity into the realm of opinion surveys.

Two of Jackson's colleagues have also been elevated to new positions on HuffPost's polling team, promotions that add up to a rare bright spot for women in a male-dominated field. Many of the most prominent data gurus in the news business are men, including FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver and right-leaning Fox News analyst Frank Luntz.

Jackson, who was previously a senior data scientist at HuffPost, will become senior polling editor. Blumenthal, her predecessor, is headed to SurveyMonkey to head up its election polling. Ariel Edwards-Levy, a reporter at HuffPost, adds director of polling to her responsibilities. Janie Velencia, previously an associate editor at HuffPost, becomes associate polling editor there.

Jackson emphasized the importance of gender diversity in a statement provided to Poynter.

"I'm thrilled with this HuffPost Pollster team," Jackson said. "Diversity and bringing different perspectives is always important in any field, and this field happens to be very male-dominated, so I'm proud to be part of one of the few all female teams."

The Huffington Post declined to make statistics relating to diversity available in August, telling the International Business Times that such disclosures run counter to the site's policies.

Here's the memo announcing promotions of Jackson, Velencia and Edwards-Levy from Ryan Grim, HuffPost's D.C. bureau chief:

Hi all,

I have some exciting promotions to announce: Natalie Jackson, who built our 2014 model and has the distinction of being the lone person on our politics team with a PhD, will take over as senior polling editor, overseeing our 2016 model and the build-out of our charts. (The 2012 model, for those who need a reminder, nailed 50 of 50 presidential states and every Senate race; Pollster beat 538 because Mr. Silver missed Heitkamp, who won by like 5 votes. But hey we'll take it.)

Ariel, who will be both a staff reporter and director of polling, will fully own the HuffPost/YouGov survey, which she helped launch and which has truly been coming into its own lately. Only Ariel could manage that and also report in her spare time.

And Janie Velencia will also be doing more writing, as we look for a fellow to help run Pollster day to day. (If you know anybody, send them to Natalie, Ariel and Janie.)

Notably, our polling team is now one of very few (if not the only) all female polling teams in a very male-dominated field. Congrats to Natalie, Ariel, and Janie!


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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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