OK. Election’s over. The best guy won. We can get back to business. Or, in my case, get on with tricking out this blog and catching up! So, check out Steve Myers’ article, “FiveThirtyEight Combines Polls, Reporting and Baseball”, for a description of two model nujurno beat writers, Nate Silver and Sean Quinn of
FiveThirtyEight. (Also, another nice story at WWDMedia.) They know data, they use data, they provide analysis of data sources, and they know how campaigns work so well that they can ask questions that provide explicit understanding. That combo made FiveThirtyEight the go-to place for understanding the polls and how those polls related to what was happening on the ground.
They’re a great example of why the general assignment reporter is as useful in Webworld as blacksmiths were when cars replaced horses as the No. 1 method of transport. In addition to telling a good story, if jurnos don’t know what they’re talking about, if they don’t know how their beats work, if their reporting isn’t data-driven, and if they can’t analyze that data and explain its significance to their communities, well….what good are they?