Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight founder, expects to leave ABC News amid layoffs

Nate Silver, the founder and editor of the data-driven news website FiveThirtyEight, said Tuesday he expected to leave ABC News as layoffs rage against its parent organization, the Walt Disney Company.

Mr. Silver, who started FiveThirtyEight in 2008 and was associated with The New York Times from 2010 to 2013, said on Twitter that the Disney layoffs had “significantly affected” the site.

“I am sad and disappointed to an extent that is a little difficult to express right now. We̵[ads1]7;ve been with Disney for almost 10 years,” he wrote. “My contract is up soon and I anticipate leaving at the end of it.”

Mr. Silver noted that he had begun to have conversations about other possibilities because he had been concerned about “such an outcome.”

In a statement, ABC News said it remained dedicated to data journalism with a core focus on politics, economics and business reporting.

“This streamlined structure will allow us to be more aligned with our priorities for the 2024 election and beyond,” the company said. “We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the team members who will be leaving the organization and know they will continue to have an important impact on the future of journalism.”

An ABC spokesman did not immediately respond to additional questions Tuesday about the number of staff cuts or how the FiveThirtyEight site would be streamlined and changed. But a person with knowledge of the cuts to the site who spoke on condition of anonymity said employees had been told the FiveThirtyEight newsroom would be reduced by about two-thirds. The site currently has an assigned headcount of about 35 employees, the person said, though not all of those roles have been filled.

Internal Slack messages in which Mr. Silver told employees he expected to leave were leaked to the Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday.

ABC News has said it will keep the FiveThirtyEight brand name.

On Tuesday, Mr. Silver, who rose to national fame with his accurate predictions of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, apologized on Twitter to those affected. “I am so proud of the work of the FiveThirtyEight staff,” he said. – It has never been easy.

The New York Times licensed FiveThirtyEight’s content from 2010 to 2013, with politics as its main focus, although it also provided number-crunching analysis of sports, economics and other disciplines. In 2013, the franchise moved to ESPN, the sports empire controlled by the Walt Disney Company. It was acquired by ABC News in 2018.

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