#nate silver

Ben Thompson:

Nate Silver’s manifesto for his new site is 3500 words long, meaning it would take the average adult just under 12 minutes to read. That 12 minutes is then gone forever, a bit of attention taken from whatever other activity said reader would have otherwise consumed, and instead gave to Nate Silver. That is why Nate Silver is so valuable.

The implication of my news consumption being dominated by the tall skinny part of the power curve is that those who can regularly appear there – the best of the best – are going to win the zero sum game for my attention. And, for that, they will be justly rewarded.

What then, though, of the tens of thousands of journalists who formerly filled the middle of the bell curve? More broadly – and this is the central challenge to society presented by the Internet – what then of the millions of others who are perfectly average and thus, in an age where the best is only a click away, are simply not needed?

It’s a great point and question. The internet has made the “best” more accessible, so why would anyone settle for anything less?

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.