Friday, June 22, 2018

Looking Back on Seven Years of Baseballot

Isn't it weird how, when people say they have "some personal news," they really mean they have some professional news? Anyway, I have some personal and/or professional news that you may have already seen me announce on Twitter: I'm joining FiveThirtyEight (where I've been freelancing since last year) full-time as its new elections writer. I've read FiveThirtyEight almost since back when Nate Silver was still Poblano, and much of my own writing was informed and inspired by his revolutionary strain of political data journalism. At the same time, I struck up a Twitter friendship with Nate's right-hand man, Micah Cohen, who gave Baseballot its first readership outside my family by including some of my posts in FiveThirtyEight's weekly "Reads and Reactions" feature. To work with them is a dream come true.

But it also means changes, one of which is that you're probably going to see a lot fewer posts here on Baseballot. This isn't goodbye, exactly (for one thing, I hope that you'll keep reading me over at FiveThirtyEight); this isn't some big pronouncement that this is going to be the FINAL BASEBALLOT POST EVER!!, or even that the blog is going dormant for a while. It's just a public acknowledgment that, yeah, updates are going to be infrequent from here on out because I have a real job now and my new bosses are going to want to publish most of what I tend to write. Occasionally there may be a musing missive in this space about an obscure election, or a post that's not about politics or baseball at all. This blog has been a big part of my life for the last seven (!) years, and I'm not quite ready to give it up for good. But things are going to get quieter around here.

Inspired by one of my favorite writers, I started this blog in 2011 because my first couple years of working in a real-world office were not as stimulating as I had hoped. I decided to scratch my writing itch first as a hobby. Eventually, it got more serious: I developed quasi-professional relationships on Twitter, my writing and research got stronger, and my pageviews increased. In 2015, I gained the confidence to start freelance-writing online full-time, and, with the exposure that came from that volume, my work caught the eye of my wonderful now-former colleagues at Inside Elections and ultimately FiveThirtyEight. It all started with this blog and those of you who read it along the way.

To other aspiring writers/bloggers/reporters/pundits, allow me to be that writer who inspires you to join the fray: start a blog, pitch articles to Newsweek on the weekends, start a (smart, respectful) conversation on Twitter. Patience and hard work can pay off. To everyone else: thanks for reading Baseballot, and thank you for all the support over the years. I couldn't have done it without your encouragement, your sharing of my articles, and the community you created where I finally felt at home.