NYTimes Public Editor: Nate Silver Didn’t Fit Into Paper’s Culture

The New York Times Public Editor on Monday provided her take on Nate Silver’s decision to leave the Times for ESPN, writing “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,” Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote Monday. “Much like the Brad Pitt character in the movie ‘Moneyball’ disrupted the old model of how to scout baseball players, Nate disrupted the traditional model of how to cover politics.”

Sullivan also recalled how, through conversations about the polling guru with others in the Times’ newsroom, she learned that “a number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work.”

“The first time I wrote about him I suggested that print readers should have the same access to his writing that online readers were getting. I was surprised to quickly hear by e-mail 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,” she wrote. “The Times tried very hard to give him a lot of editorial help and a great platform. It bent over backward to do so, and this, too, disturbed some staff members.”

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