FiveThirtyEight has finally found its replacement in The Economist’s G. Elliot Morris. ABC News has tapped Morris as the editorial director of data analytics for the news division, a position that will oversee the FiveThirtyEight brand in the wake of Nate Silver’s departure.
Morris will start in this new role June 26 and will be based in Washington D.C. He will lead all data journalism efforts for both ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, which will include “launching a full suite of poll-aggregation and election-forecasting models” for U.S. elections that will be used for broadcast, streaming and digital. Morris will report to Lulu Chiang, vice president of ABC News Digital.
“With Elliott leading the talented data journalism team at ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, I look forward to the robust analysis of this current election cycle and the evolution of polling data at ABC News,” ABC News President Kim Godwin wrote in a note to the news division announcing Morris’ hiring.
Prior to joining ABC News, Morris was the senior data journalist and U.S. correspondent for The Economist. In that role, he covered American politics, public opinion polling, demographics and elections. He was also the lead developer of the publication’s election forecasting models for U.S. presidential and foreign elections. Additionally, Morris wrote the weekly “Checks and Balances” newsletter and is the author of “Strength in Numbers: How Polls Work and Why We Need Them.”
In April, Silver told FiveThirtyEight’s employees via Slack that he expected he would be leaving ABC News once his contract ended. He later confirmed on Twitter that Disney’s layoffs “substantially” impacted FiveThirtyEight. Disney had previously announced its plan to eliminate 7,000 jobs and generate $5.5 billion in cost savings.
Silver founded the data-driven website in 2008. It then became a licensed feature of the New York Times in 2010 before it was acquired by Disney and ESPN in 2013. The division eventually moved to ABC News.
Earlier this year, ABC News confirmed to TheWrap it planned to keep the FiveThirtyEight brand. “ABC News remains dedicated to data journalism with a core focus on politics, the economy and enterprise reporting – this streamlined structure will allow us to be more closely aligned with our priorities for the 2024 election and beyond,” the spokesperson said. “We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the team members who will be departing the organization and know they will continue to make an important impact on the future of journalism.”