NS: Yeah. And we’re going to try and provide more data to people on the Congress, so you can look up someone’s voting record, for example, in a way that we think is more interesting and intelligible than you might be able to find elsewhere right now. Maybe it’d be something where, if you have a vote in the House, you can try to map out and model, ‘Why did people vote for this bill? Are there any people that look like they should have voted for this bill, and didn’t? And, if so, why didn’t they?’ And then maybe you tie that in with, say, lobbying money. So there’s a lot of creative ideas we have. It’ll never be horse race stuff, I don’t think. But we have a midterm in 2010—I think it’s going to be really interesting—and we have some gubernatorial elections next year, and there’ll be special elections, and stuff like that. The news tends to make itself. During the Clinton administration, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, for example: We would have our ! own FiveThirtyEight way to cover that. Probably not talking about the gossip, but looking at his approval ratings and stuff like that. It’s a busy time in the world, and I think there’ll be no lack of things that we can lend our expertise to. Obviously, our bread and butter will probably be election years.
And, hey, there’s going to be a big fight going on in the GOP, as well. Just like you had a year-long Democratic primary this year, I think you’re really going to see a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican party, beginning early in 2011 and people positioning themselves in different ways. It’ll be fun, because, as we say on the Web site…I mean, I hope we have a reputation for being fair and balanced—maybe I shouldn’t use that particular phrase, but—I think it’ll be interesting, really, as a disinterested observer—and not really disinterested, I think it’s really interesting—to be able to cover that primary and say, ‘Who do I really think will win?’ I hope people can really trust my take if I say, ‘You know what? I think Mitt Romney’s really got it this year.’ I hope people can take that as authoritative and interesting when we get to 2011 or so.
We can also look at more everyday economic issues. Every time you pick up a newspaper, you can probably circle two or three items in every section where there’s some piece of quantitative or fiscal information reported that might not be reported all that smartly—so we can do a little of that, too. There was a book a few years ago, A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, and we can make something like that a semi-regular feature: just things that amuse or annoy us about reporting—reporting in finance and medicine and certainly sports, which is part of my background, and pop culture—how it’s always like, ‘Well, the biggest box office gross…’ (well, but it’s not adjusted for inflation). Little things like that—the result of having a lot of English majors in the newsroom and not as many math majors.
MG: What’s your daily media diet? Do you have papers and sites that you read every day?