Home » Opinion » It’s the Story Stupid

It’s the Story Stupid

Ezra Klein, Grasping Reality, Nate Silver as Journalistic Innovator, here.

Silver’s other, and most important, journalistic strength: narrativizing the data…. [N]othing important happens on any given day…. The way a lot of horserace coverage deals with this problem is by blowing up unimportant news… into stories that makes the readers feel like they’re learning urgent new facts….

What Silver figured out how to do is tell a story each day about what was on his spreadsheet. On any given day, you could head to FiveThirtyEight and get a new forecast and an engaging and clear explanation from Silver on what had changed in the forecast…. He made his data into a daily story, and he used it to tell the story of the presidential campaign…. Every day, the data told a new and interesting story. It often wasn’t a story about anything in the news that day, of course. It was just a story about the election, and the news peg, so far as there was one, was some bit of movement in Silver’s forecast….

Lots of people can run the numbers. But Silver can use those numbers to tell readers an engaging, fast-paced and constantly changing story about subjects they care about. That’s a rare talent.

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