As news of Nate Silver’s new gig at the Times reverberated around the tubes today, Taegan Goddard, Andrew Sullivan and Ezra Klein weighed-in on the issue of personality driven blogs I raised a few months back. Ezra, aping a murderous drug dealer notes:
“If I left The Washington Post tomorrow, I couldn’t take my archives with me. But then, I wouldn’t want to take my archives with me. I don’t need everything I’ve ever written following me around forevermore. What protects me is that if I leave, I still control the Ezra Klein brand, and all of its rights revert back to me. That’s not because it’s written into my deal. It’s because I’m Ezra Klein and my picture is on the banner. It would be really weird for someone not named Ezra Klein to be writing in this space…Lawyers can take a lot of things from you, but as Marlo Stanfield said, your name is your name.”
This is exactly the point. News outlets are smartly taking advantage of the brands folks like Ezra and Nate (and Sullivan and Goddard for that matter) offer them. People don’t particularly care if they’re reading the Times, The Post, The Atlantic or CQ when they read these blogs. The Times is making a smart move in bringing on Silver, adding his credibility, creativity and yes readership, to NYTimes.com. But the really interesting question is how all of these personality driven enterprises shake-out as the voices behind them evolve or god forbid leave. Just ask POLITICO how that Michael Calderone blog is working out?