Laura Hazard Owen:
Silver said that the main model for the new FiveThirtyEight will be Grantland.com, the ESPN-owned sports and pop culture site founded by sports columnist Bill Simmons. “Grantland was as close to anything in the media right now” as what he wants to do at ESPN, Silver said. When considering offers — and there were “a lot of them” — Silver said he looked at “who can actually put this vision into practice…I have a lot of confidence that [ESPN] is going to do this the right way.” Another model for the new site was Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, which is owned by the Washington Post.
While I wondered why Silver simply wouldn’t start his own site, it makes sense to follow the Grantland model with all of ESPN’s resources behind him. And I suspect we’re going to start seeing a lot more of this. Less about the publication, more about the writer. Which I welcome.