Monday, March 10, 2014

And They'rre-off!

Am I correct to detect just a whiff of hubris cockiness in Nate Silver's account of how he hires, which might perhaps be titled "why I will get everything right while everybody else gets everything wrong"--?    Me, I'm still a big Nate fan, but I'm also looking forward to the launch of Ezra Klein & Co. over at Vox.Com.  "Looking forward" with optimism, though not reassured by the way they've buried themselves in a steamin' heapo o' pre-launch hype: we can only hope that it is the fault of the publisher and that the Kleinsters can surmount it.

Meanwhile I can't escape the intuition that David Leonhardt back at the Times is playing a game he doesn't quite understand.  "Three full-time graphic journalists" and "I was a math major in college" smell suspiciously like a lack of focus.

Whatever.  For your entertainment, see if you can guess which of the stories linked above contains which quote:

"...some innovative new editorial products that let us deliver contextual information more cleanly, clearly, and regularly."

"...trying to help readers get to the essence of issues and understand them in a contextual and conversational way,”
"I’m a dork,"


Colin Docherty said...

I saw it as smart promotion for a new business. "We're hiring the best" is a great signaler to new employees who have taken the risk joining a start up business, and future employees who want to signal they've made it through a perceived top-tier process.

The New York Crank said...

Let us hope there will be a disconnect between what Nate Silver is preaching and what his editorial product will turn out to be. Otherwise, he's in danger of forgetting that you can't bore people into reading your articles.

At best, if he continues down this road along the upper left hand quadrant, he will be the favorite reading of a few people with superiority complexes. He'll be a sort of MENSA of the news business. His online publication will be an entity that is largely overlooked or dismissed by the vast sea of readers who need to be engaged and moved if the news he uncovers will ever get widely read, discussed, and acted upon.

Yes, we need to populate the news with hard facts. Yes, we need stats. Yes we need to analyze and explain them. But news also needs to be presented in story form, even as narrative with a little bit of commentary, if it's going to seize readers by the lapels and throttle them into paying attention.

But I suppose Silver, if he's reading this (fat chance!) must be dismissing this as more mere punditry and shooing me into the lower right hand box of his grid.

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank