The media is finally figuring out figures. The coverage of Nate Silver’s tremendous success at statistical analysis has shown both that sophisticated data analysis can be newsworthy — and have tremendous real-world impact. According to the New Republic, on Nov 5th, Silver’s 538 blog garnered over 20 percent of NYTimes.com’s traffic.
While publishing stories about the impact of data mining on politics, Time Inc., is also stepping up their internal analytics efforts.
A reliance on numbers has long been the norm on the business side, but editorial decision-making, like punditry, has been seen as more art than science. However, the era of editorial voodoo may be coming to an end.
And thank God for that. One by one, computers and the people who know how to use them are knocking off these crazy notions about gut instinct and intuition that humans like to cling to. For far too long we’ve applied this kind of fuzzy thinking to everything, from silly stuff like sports to important stuff like medicine.
Now it is our turn. Deep data is changing media as surely as it changed baseball.