The New York Times lost its statistics star Nate Cohn Silver and his 538 franchise, which was highly trafficked, to ESPN in July 2013. It found a way of filling the void by creating a data-driven political and policy brand called The Upshot. The website launched the next April. The Times also discovered another Nate Cohn (last name Cohn), who is a precocious numbers-cruncher, polling whiz, and has become the face of election analysis at the paper. (See also Steve Kornacki, Ezra Klein etc.). They’ve added some firepower to the nerd media genre.
Cohn joined the Times in late 2013 and has since amassed a loyal following with his coverage of polling and demographics. Cohn’s prescient analysis of Mitch McConnell’s reelection prospects leading into the midterms was one of his first hits. (“The polls overstate McConnell’s vulnerability.”) He is also your go to for, say, a demotic explanation why “Republicans don’t necessarily need significant gains in Hispanic voter support to win the presidency.” A story The Upshot ran Nov. 20, or, as Cohn’s Dec. 17 article stated, “Why the Cuba Issue no Longer Cuts against Democrats in Florida.”
Cohn’s typical day might include merging nate cohn five preterm surveys and reweighting them, like Cohn did over Thanksgiving. Or, burying his nose into the North Carolina voter districts file to find out the exact percentage of the population that is white or over 65. This is what Cohn was doing when I visited him in The Upshot’s corner of Nate cohn The Times’ D.C bureau. “I look through data sets. “If someone would like to know the black share in Georgia’s electorate in 2010, I can give them that information.” (28.3%)
Spat with North Carolina-based Public Policy Nate Polling. Later dubbed “The Nerud Fight of 2013” (The Guardian)
Nate cohn press release announcing
David Leonhardt was another early fan of Cohn, the Pulitzer-winning economist who was tapped to launch The Upshot after a brief stint as Washington bureau chief at The Times. Cohn was one of Leonhardt’s first Upshot hires in November 2013. He also hired Amanda Cox (one of Cohn’s graphic editors). “Nate Cohn has been a great star. It was great to watch him rise,” Franklin Foer (T.N.R.’s editor at that time) said in a Nate cohn press release announcing Cohn’s departure. Leonhardt said that Cohn was “integrated with a lot a skeptical conservative values that many people like me have worked at the Times for a while.” Also, “When we talk about stories, there’s never a moment when I have to ask him, “Do you care if it doesn’t run?’ He’s part a shift where people realize that neither is better than the other.