The New York Times is still reeling after one of its star bloggers, popular number-cruncher Nate Silver, is jumping ship to ESPN — and they're not stewing in silence.
The Times' Public Editor basically gave the middle finger to Silver Tuesday, claiming his ethos and approach to journalism never "really fit in with the Times culture."
No one's forgotten that the Times has been desperately vying for a year — unsuccessfully — to keep Silver, including promising him his own six to twelve staff members, and allowing him to write about anything he wants. It's a bitter pill to swallow, and the Times isn't taking it lying down. From Margaret Sullivan's editorial:
I don’t think Nate Silver ever really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that. He was, in a word, disruptive...
Nate disrupted the traditional model of how to cover politics...
A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work.
Sullivan takes pains to note that she personally liked Silver, and was sorry to see him take his unique brand of awesome from the Times — but a great deal of others were "gratified by his departure."
After Silver's roaring success when he accurately predicted every single result from the 2012 Romney-versus-Obama-gate, ESPN and the Times have been in negotiations with Silver. ESPN ultimately won out: Silver has reportedly long wanted to branch out past politics into sports and entertainment — and it's speculated that ESPN also offered him more money.
Silver's statistical model has come under fire for being opaque. Nobody knows exactly how he gets to his numerical conclusions, (though we're personally betting on psychic powers) and the Times previously called him "inappropriate" for betting that he was correct about the election. (In the end, he was right. And we bet that jab didn't help during negotiations.)
What will Nate Silver predict next? We've got some predictions of our own about that one...