Washington Post Gets Its Own Version of Nate Silver

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Political science blog "The Monkey Cage" acquired by WaPo

Washington Post is going to have a Nate Silver-esque political blog vertical of its very own: The Monkey Cage announced on Monday that it will become part of the Washington Post.

The five-year-old blog isn't exactly Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, though many of its contributors have contributed to Silver's blog in the past. 

"What we will do — and what the Post wants us to do —  is what we have been doing: talking about new and interesting political science research and drawing on that research to provide informed commentary on current events," Monkey Cage blogger John Sides told TheWrap. "Becoming part of the Post gives us the opportunity to reach a much larger and broader audience, and to draw on their expertise and resources to improve our content."

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Sides told TheWrap that he began talking to the Washington Post early in the summer. Like Silver's deal with NYT, Monkey Cage's contract with WaPo is for three years.

"During that period I know that both the Post and The Monkey Cage are committed to the success of our blog," Sides said. "We'll see where we are in 3 years, but I'm not really thinking about that now."

While Monkey Cage doesn't feature the quantitative analysis that dominated FiveThirtyEight, it is, like FiveThirtyEight, a different way of looking at and writing about politics. This caused friction between Silver and NYT journalists, as was widely reported in the wake of his July exit from the Gray Lady to head up a new site for ESPN.

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But Sides isn't worried that Monkey Cage will suffer a similar fate. "I think that what we do is different enough than what Silver does that I'm not sure there's an easy comparison," he said. "And my experience with Washington Post reporters and bloggers has already been a positive one. I think we'll be received warmly even if we sometimes disagree."

Sides himself wrote in July about an encounter with a resentful Times reporter who "went on a rant about how Silver did not know things because he hadn't been in the field as reporters are, about Silver's 'models,' and about how Silver could talk about polls that did not meet the Times polling standards."

Monkey Cage's earnings from its WaPo deal will depend on how much it generates in revenue through ads and page views.