Should I rent or buy a home? How does the American middle class stack up against the rest of the world? Which party will win the midterm elections?
These are some of the questions that readers are most eager to know — and most often vexed by. The Upshot, a new venture of The New York Times, set out to answer them in clear-eyed fashion by collecting, analyzing and presenting data in innovative ways. At the core of each project were analytical judgments Upshot staff members made about what did — and did not — matter. The goal was to present complex, important issues in a new light.
Readers responded. The interactives received hundreds of thousands of visits each, as well as thousands of comments on nytimes.com, Twitter and Facebook. The pieces were among the most read articles on the entire New York Times site during the month in which they were published. The projects also won widespread praise. “PEOPLE there is a new NYT rent vs buy calculator and it is VERY GOOD,” Felix Salmon wrote on Twitter; others said they were thrilled by the calculator’s performance on mobile, which allows people to check it out while looking at houses. Political scientists praised the Senate model for its transparency, which included the publication of all data behind the model. Hillary Rodham Clinton has cited the middle-class project more than once. Network news shows featured its findings. Stephen Colbert and The Onion did bits based on it.
Above all, the pieces gave readers new insight into some of the biggest political and economic topics today.