Nate Silver: What you don’t say speaks as loudly as what you do

Keep calm, and carry on.
Keep calm, and carry on.
Image: Getty Images/Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert
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Nate Silver says a key editorial judgment at FiveThirtyEight is what not to cover.

The data-driven news site, which he recently sold to Disney and ESPN, will relaunch early next year. In a speech at the Online News Association’s annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Silver said:

I think, editorially, a big decision is the stories you don’t cover. The things you don’t say is just as important as what you do. Because when you lend a weight of authority to a story just by covering it, that affects the way people perceive that story and the way it sometimes even plays out.

Afterward, in an interview with Quartz, Silver elaborated on the idea. “I think it’s one of the basics of editorial judgment,” he said, adding:

It’s kind of related to the idea of not feeding the trolls. You can respond to something and make someone look like they’re incorrect. But sometimes people are after attention, in general, and so you can make matters worse by not having some discretion in which fights that you choose to engage in.