FiveThirtyEight Relaunches

Nate Silver, writing the new manifesto of the just relaunched FiveThirtyEight, "What The Fox Knows":

We’re not planning to abandon the story form at FiveThirtyEight. In fact, sometimes our stories will highlight individual cases, anecdotes. When we provide these examples, however, we want to be sure that we’ve contextualized them in the right way. Sometimes it can be extraordinarily valuable to explore an outlier in some detail. But the premise of the story should be to explain why the outlier is an outlier, rather than indicating some broader trend. To classify these stories appropriately, we’ll have to do a lot of work in the background before we publish them.

All of this takes time. That’s why we’ve elected to sacrifice something else as opposed to accuracy or accessibility. The sacrifice is speed — we’re rarely going to be the first organization to break news or to comment on a story. We’ve hired an extraordinary team of editors, led by Mike Wilson. In contrast to our writers, our editors largely do not have quantitative backgrounds. Instead, they will serve as the first (and second and third) line of defense to ensure that our coverage is both accurate and accessible. Where we do react more quickly, such as on DataLab, our blog-like product led by Mona Chalabi and Micah Cohen, we’re going to label our analysis as work in progress.

We are going to screw some things up. We hope our mistakes will be honest ones. We hope you’ll gain insight and pleasure from our approach to the news and that you’ll visit us from time to time. We hope to demonstrate the value of data journalism as a practical and sustainable proposition.

It’s time for us to start making the news a little nerdier.

Ben Thompson explains why sites like FiveThirtyEight and others will be so successful moving forward:

This, of course, is made possible by the Internet. No longer are my reading choices constrained by time and especially place. Why should I pick up the Wisconsin State Journal – or the Taipei Times – when I can read Nate Silver, Ezra Klein, Bill Simmons, and the myriad other links served up by Twitter? I, and everyone else interested in news, politics, or sports, can read the best with less effort – and cost – than it ever took to read the merely average just a few short years ago.

Sites like FiveThirtyEight, and Grantland are delightful to read and produce a quality product. If they ever stop doing so, other sites will do so instead. This is the power of the Internet. No longer does a mediocre local newspaper hold monopoly power over your news because you are unfortunate enough to live where you do and therefor are subjected to their distribution area as your only option of news. A lot has changed in 20 years. Sites like FiveThirtyEight, Grandland and others will probably hold as much prestige and respect 30-50 years from now as organizations such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal do today.

Except they aren't tied to annoying things such as location or paper.

I for one welcome our new nerdier news overlords.