Nate Silver expected to leave FiveThirtyEight

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FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver will be leaving Disney, ESPN and ABC News as part of broader cost-saving costs at the network.

FiveThirtyEight was founded in 2008 by Silver and named for the number of electors in the U.S. electoral college, a nod to its emphasis on politics.

The site sets itself apart by offering data-driven and data-visualization reporting on a variety of topics, including political polls, current issues, sports and other current events and trends. Its text-based stories are typically accompanied by interactive maps and graphics, including formats unique to the site.

The site also uses proprietary models to pipe in data from polls and other sources and then form its own predictions based on that data.

In 2010, the site was paired with The New York Times, but Disney’s ESPN division would buy it in 2013, with Silver staying on to lead the editorial team.

Silver would then start contributing to ESPN sister network ABC News’ election coverage.

Now Silver will depart the site he founded. He indicated he is not expected to stay past his current contract, though did not indicate when it expires, though sources say it is sooner rather than later.

Disney, meanwhile, is retaining the rights to the FiveThirtyEight name and archives and has indicated it plans to keep the brand alive for the 2024 elections, though it did not mention anything beyond that point.

The company also says it hopes to “streamline” operations to cut down on costs. FiveThirtyEight has never been profitable.

Silver likely could be an interesting hire for other news outlets, many of whom have developed significant efforts in data journalism, especially around politics.

NBC and MSNBC frequently feature Steve Kornacki and his interactive touchscreen for both news and sports coverage, and it could be an interesting pairing to put Silver and him together, though that could also prove to be too much overlap.

Depending on the terms of Silver’s contract, he may need to sit out a bit before starting a new job or even launching a new project — or he could explore new gigs right away.