Today ABC News announced it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire the renowned data journalism organization FiveThirtyEight from ESPN. With the heightened interest in political news, FiveThirtyEight’s distinctive style of data-literate reporting will fortify ABC News’ political coverage, adding comprehensive statistical analysis and data visualization. FiveThirtyEight will also continue to provide data-driven sports coverage in conjunction with ABC News and ESPN. ABC News and ESPN, Inc., are both divisions of The Walt Disney Company.
“In a time when politics has never been more fascinating, FiveThirtyEight brings clarity and insight to what’s really going on,” said James Goldston, president, ABC News. “With political news front and center every day and the 2018 midterms on the horizon, Nate Silver and his brilliant team truly enhance what we can offer our audience.”
From their website to their daily newsletters and popular podcasts, Editor-in-Chief Silver, Director of Strategy Stephanie Roos and Deputy Editor Micah Cohen and the rest of the FiveThirtyEight team have built an impressive portfolio of products, applying statistical analysis, data visualization and data-literate reporting to a wide range of topics including politics, science and sports. Silver and the FiveThirtyEight staff will become a part of the news division, and Silver and other FiveThirtyEight reporters will appear regularly across ABC News.
Said Silver, “This is an exciting move for FiveThirtyEight and our staff. With ABC we’ll be able to expand our political coverage at a crucial time, while maintaining a relationship with ESPN for our sports coverage. James has a real vision for how FiveThirtyEight can contribute to ABC’s news and election coverage, and we’re looking forward to building upon what we’ve created with ESPN. We’re looking forward to getting to work immediately as we prepare for the 2018 midterms.”
Added Connor Schell, executive vice president of content at ESPN, “FiveThirtyEight has been a tremendous asset to ESPN since Nate and the team joined us in 2013 and we are thrilled about their new home at ABC News. I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together and pleased FiveThirtyEight will remain a part of The Walt Disney Company. As storytelling around data and analytics remain an important way that ESPN serves sports fans every day, our team will continue to utilize Nate and the FiveThirtyEight experts to allow fans to benefit from their sports content.”
Under ESPN’s ownership, FiveThirtyEight grew from a political blog to a multimedia platform that attracts millions of dedicated readers per month, and which is known for in-depth reporting, insightful podcasts and exceptional data visualization across a number of verticals. Its reporting has been recognized on a number of occasions, including winning several awards for ambitious multi-part projects like Gun Deaths in America and its 2016 Election forecast, which was the most trafficked piece of content on the internet in 2016. FiveThirtyEight was recognized as the Data Journalism Site of the Year in 2016 and is currently on the short list for eight awards in the 2018 competition.