Nate Silver is a Great Synergy Hire

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
July 20 2013 2:44 PM

Nate Silver is a Great Synergy Hire For ESPN

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Nate Silver attends the 16th Annual Webby Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on May 21, 2012 in New York City.

Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

I think the most interesting thing about Nate Silver's move from The New York Times to ESPN is the quiet reporting from Brian Stelter that Silver will also contribute a bit to ABC News' political coverage. This is a very elegant solution to a major media business problem that while Americans are very interested in politics from time to time, there are also vast swathes of time when they find politics totally uninteresting.

Sports, by contrast, creates a much steadier stream of audience interest. There's a summer lull, but even that comes at a period that's actually very well-suited to analytics since it means there's enough baseball season data to start making meaningful assertions about it. So Silver can plug away at sports coverage, and then every four years pivot back to politics for a few months to capture the huge surge in interest in electoral politics that comes right before a presidential election. That'll be a huge advantage for ABC News' political team, but since Silver has basically gotten his poll averaging method down already it's not necessarily a huge drain on his time to do it.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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