by Patrick Appel
The breadth of our coverage will be much clearer at this new version of FiveThirtyEight, which is launching Monday under the auspices of ESPN. We’ve expanded our staff from two full-time journalists to 20 and counting. Few of them will focus on politics exclusively; instead, our coverage will span five major subject areas — politics, economics, science, life and sports.
Our team also has a broad set of skills and experience in methods that fall under the rubric of data journalism. These include statistical analysis, but also data visualization, computer programming and data-literate reporting. So in addition to written stories, we’ll have interactive graphics and features. Within a couple of months we’ll launch a podcast, and we’ll be collaborating with ESPN Films and Grantland to produce original documentary films.
The site won’t be all data all the time:
We’re not planning to abandon the story form at FiveThirtyEight. In fact, sometimes our stories will highlight individual cases, anecdotes. When we provide these examples, however, we want to be sure that we’ve contextualized them in the right way. Sometimes it can be extraordinarily valuable to explore an outlier in some detail. But the premise of the story should be to explain why the outlier is an outlier, rather than indicating some broader trend. To classify these stories appropriately, we’ll have to do a lot of work in the background before we publish them.
All of this takes time. That’s why we’ve elected to sacrifice something else as opposed to accuracy or accessibility. The sacrifice is speed — we’re rarely going to be the first organization to break news or to comment on a story.