Blogging land rush: NY Times adds top political blogger to site

The New York Times is following the trend to bring in more bloggers to its website with the news that it is folding the top political blog FiveThirtyEight.com into the NYTimes.com.

The move follows that by The Washington Post which recently announced the launch of a new politic hub called PostPolitics.com. Among other things that site will aggregate political blogs from across the US to form a network of state-based political bloggers. It is being run by Post blogger Chris Cillizza who writes The Fix.

In addition to hosting the two year old blog FiveThirtyEight its founder, Nate Silver, will become a regular contributor to The New York Times as part of a three-year licensing deal.

The deal is recognition of the increased competition that newspapers face from bloggers, particularly in the US where powerful blogs like Politico (founded by two former post writers John Harris and Jim VandeHei) and The Huffington Post (on track to surpass the NY Times in terms of web traffic) represent serious competitive threats.

It is not the first time the New York Times has made such a move. In 2007 it folded the blog Freakonomics into the opinion section of the site.

Silver said told the paper that he foresaw a more journalistic approach for the blog. “It will be interesting to work in a real newsroom environment,” adding that the blog would “be a little bit newsier”.

Silver is not a political native. His background is baseball statistics, which he transferred to the world of political blogging.

He developed a statistical system that projects the future performance of hitters and pitchers called Pecota, which that he sold to Baseball Prospectus.

In 2007 Silver began to publish analyses and predictions related to the 2008 US presidential election under the pseudonym “Poblano.” At first this appeared on the political blog Daily Kos, but then in March 2008 he launched FiveThirtyEight.com.

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