On Sunday, I pulled aside a few links about how ESPN convinced Nate Silver to join them (and ABC/Disney) when his 3 year contract ended with the Times. The Politico version was the deep dive into the back story.
Since I scheduled that to post, a few new articles have come around, the mos interesting of which was by Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor of the NYT. She pens a wistful explanatory about how “Nate Silver Went Against the Grain for Some at The Times.”
“I suspect that this question of feeling at home in the Times culture was a relatively small factor. The deciding elements more likely were money, a broader variety of platforms and the opportunity to concentrate on sports and entertainment, as well as politics. It all added up to a better package – a better fit — at ESPN, and last week he told The Times of his plans.
Are some at The Times gratified by his departure? No doubt. But others are sorry to see him go. Count me among those.”
I doubt it was the intention of the public editor to make the Times staff look like a bunch of old school, anti-data, petty old farts — “Yeah, We Screwed Up with Nate Silver” — but that’s how I read the entire piece.
The more important question is about the structure: Did Nate Silver’s 538 in some way change the model for journalists/bloggers/wonks?
I can think of a handful of people who have similar relationships to their media parent companies: Ezra Klein at thee Washington Post (wonkblog), Felix Salmon Reuters/Counter-parties), Andrew Sullivan (formerly of Atlantic).
Question: Is this potentially a new model?