GO
Loading...

Nate Silver talks new direction under ESPN ownership

Nate Silver made a name for himself predicting elections with incredible accuracy at his blog fivethirtyeight.com, owned by The New York Times. But now, instead of applying his statistical analysis to Obamacare, he's been busy readying his blog for its next incarnation, under the ownership of ESPN, and hiring a whole new team.

What does he want the new FiveThirtyEight to be? "I want a source that I can go to that I can trust to take a complicated issue where a log of data is involved," Silver said. "Fivethirtyeight is my home for that."

Nate Silver
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert | Getty Images
Nate Silver

CNBC sat down with Silver at the Paley International Council Summit at the Paley Center's headquarters in Manhattan.

Silver said he's burnt out on politics—but isn't ditching it entirely. "I don't like the politics of politics," he said. "What we are not going to do is any type of partisan advocacy."

Politics will be about a third of the focus of his new venture. Another third will be focused on sports, with the rest on everything else—a grab bag including finance, travel, science and health care.

So why did Silver sell to sports powerhouse ESPN? It's not because he wants to double down on sports. He said he simply wanted the backing of a major media organization, so he can scale. Just this week news of FiveThirtyEight expanding his team comes as The New York Times hires a whole team of people to replace him. Silver called it "validation."

"People under 40 appreciate a different type of storytelling. They don't respect authority as much. You have to build up credibility—here's the data set I'm looking at—not just assert that I heard this from a source," Silver said. " I think that approach appeals more towards a younger audience."

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin.

Featured

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.