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Public Editor: Nate Silver Clashed with NYT's Culture

By Cathy Burke   |   Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 07:51 AM

The New York Times' star political statistician Nate Silver -- ditching the Grey Lady for a job with ESPN and ABC News -- won't be sorely missed at the newspaper, where he was a disruptive misfit, one editor at the newspaper wrote Monday.

"I don’t think Nate Silver ever really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that," the newspaper's public editor, Margaret Sullivan, wrote on her blog.

"He was, in a word, disruptive," she said, comparing the stats wiz to the Brad Pitt character in the movie "Moneyball," who discarded the old model of scouting ballplayers. "Nate disrupted the traditional model of how to cover politics," Sullivan wrote.

At ESPN and ABC News, Silver has been promised extensive air time, a role in the Oscars, and a digital beat that will focus primarily on sports but also politics, economics, and other topics.

Sullivan speculates Silver's decision to move, however, was driven by "money, prestige and the opportunity to concentrate on sports and entertainment, rather than politics..."

Though Sullivan said she supported Silver's work at the newspaper, he was not universally admired.

"A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work," she wrote, saying she got e-mails"from three high-profile Times political journalists, criticizing him and his work. They were also tough on me for seeming to endorse what he wrote, since I was suggesting that it get more visibility."

Silver has been bluntly critical of traditional political reporting at both The Times and Politico.

"...There’s no doubt that decision-makers are disappointed" the popular blogger is leaving, Sullivan wrote, adding she too would be "sorry to see him go."



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