Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight Founder, Expects to Depart ABC News Amid Layoffs

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

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

“I am sad and disappointed to a degree that’s kind of hard to express right now. We’ve been at Disney almost 10 years,” he wrote. “My contract is up soon and I expect that I’ll be leaving at the end of it.”

Mr. Silver noted that he had begun having conversations about other opportunities, because he had been worried about “an outcome like this.”

In a statement, ABC News said that it remained dedicated to data journalism with a core focus on politics, the economy and enterprise reporting.

“This streamlined structure will allow us to be more closely 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 departing the organization and know they will continue to make an important impact on the future of journalism.”

Three people with knowledge of the cuts to the site, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that more than half of the 35 staff positions at FiveThirtyEight had been slashed.

Mr. Silver, whose contract expires in summer, owns some of the intellectual property used by FiveThirtyEight, two of the people said.

Internal Slack messages in which Mr. Silver told employees he expected to depart 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 projections about the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, apologized on Twitter to those affected. “I am so proud of the work of 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, though it also provided numbers-crunching analyses 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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