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Originally, the site was launched anonymously in 2008 after Silver had been posting statistical poll analysis as an anonymous diarist at the liberal blog Daily Kos, beginning in late 2007. Silver revealed his identity in May 2008.
In August 2010, the New York Times’ began hosting Silver’s blog in an effort to “help New York Times readers cut through the clutter of this data-rich world.” It was rebranded as “FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver’s Political Calculus”. The hosting was part of a three-year deal in which the Times licensed FiveThirtyEight’s content while also providing editorial guidance. Silver also contributes to the print edition of the Times as well as to the New York Times Magazine.
Silver, a baseball statistician, uses advanced statistical techniques and historical data to analyze poll data, including an election projection algorithm based on a baseball projection system he created.
Silver has said he started the site to fill in the gaps in data analysis and understanding among political journalists. During the 2008 election, his co-writer, Sean Quinn, supplemented Silver’s analysis with reporting on local campaign efforts. Currently a number of other statisticians, academics and other professionals contribute occasionally to the blog, which often reaches beyond politics into issues of public importance.
The Chicago News Cooperative was a nonprofit news organization that focuses on public-interest journalism. The Cooperative was launched in October 2009 by James O’Shea, a former editor at the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. It indefinitely suspended operations in February 2012 after a grant from its largest funder, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,…