Nate Silver, the statistician famous for correctly predicting the outcome of the US 2012 presidential election, was lured away from the New York Times by ESPN 8 months ago. Yesterday marked the relaunch of his website FiveThirtyEight.com, now with a focus on data journalism and with a staff of 20. In the opening post, Nate describes the journalistic methodology of the site, which will be data-driven, deliberate, and focus not just on the explanation of data but its generalization to future outcomes — a process missing from traditional journalism.
The site seems to be doing very well so far, if the traffic it's sending to this blog is any indication. (The opening post linked to our 2011 post, "The plural of anecdote is data, after all".) I like the fact that the site isn't shying away from in-depth statitistical issues: for example, today's post on how statisticans can help find the misssing Malaysian Airlines 777 is basically a primer on Bayesian Statistics. (Bayesian or simulation-based methods have helped find planes, boats and individuals lost at see before, such as in this gripping story of a Montauk fisherman lost overboard in the Atlantic Ocean.)
I with Nate and his team the best for their new venture. Hopefully the success of the site will bring data journalism and statistical principles to a wider audience.