Nate Silver’s next steps

At ESPN, he's going to build his brand into a staffed site

Nate Silver’s move from The New York Times to ESPN is turning the reporter-statistician into the editor in chief of his site, relaunching in “impending months,” Silver said during a press call with ESPN President John Skipper on Monday afternoon.

The tradeoff of access to ESPN’s resources and reach is that the company now owns the FiveThirtyEight site and the brand. Silver, of course, declined to comment on how much ESPN paid. (He also refused to address the gossip making the social media rounds—between royal-baby tweets—about how he didn’t fit in at the Times.)

The ESPN incarnation of FiveThirtyEight won’t just focus on sports, but rather on data-driven reporting of all types, including the political coverage that brought the Times a massive amount of Web traffic during the 2012 election season.

“It’s really more of a horizontal approach for how we do journalism, how we make data relevant for people in terms of good storytelling,” Silver said. Though his plans for building a team for the site remain in the early stages, Silver did say he intends to hire a full-time political journalist.

The working model for growing his site as of now, he said, is fellow ESPN property Grantland—it’s a distinct site with its own voice and content within the larger company.

“The importance of Grantland as a successful precedent was very important for me,” Silver said. “ESPN and ABC and Disney are really good at figuring out how to build products.”

Silver will be appearing on TV in his role as editor in chief, but he and Skipper said that they haven’t finalized specific appearances beyond election-season spots on ABC News.

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Kira Goldenberg was an associate editor at CJR from 2012-2015. Follow her on Twitter at @kiragoldenberg. Tags: , ,