How Political Journalists Relax After an Election

The election is over, the president chosen. No longer must you spend the bulk of your work day obsessively clicking on electoral maps, and your nights flipping between the Daily News, Bill O'Reilly and Rachel Maddow. You've got your life back.

But what will the journalists do now that the political news, and public interest in it, is less urgent? (And, no, the race to fill cabinet posts isn't even close.)

Write books, of course. Or at the very least, shop around proposals.

Over the weekend, Publishers Lunch announced that deals had been sealed on four new election books:

Nate Silver has signed with Penguin in "a major deal" ($500,000 and up) for two books, one on "a Freakonomics-style guide to the mechanics of electoral politics" and the other on the art of prediction. Silver, a baseball statistician turned electoral map guru, founded the poll-tracking site FiveThirtyEight. But you already know that because you lost hours of your life on the site checking and rechecking Silver's prescient electoral maps.

NBC political director Chuck Todd and pollster Sheldon Gawiser have a quickie book called "How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election" coming out before Inauguration Day.

New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza will be following Obama's first year as president and so will Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, but Alter's pitch seems to be a little catchier. He promises to look at the "reality of hope" and "what happens when an irresistible force meets an immoveable object in the form of Washington, D.C., and the status quo." More puzzling, though, is Alter's plan "to write about the Obama administration the way one might write about an internet start-up company." Is he talking foosball? (You can hear Alter, who wrote The Defining Moment: FDR'S Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, talking here with Diane Rehm about Obama and FDR and political transitions.)

Expect more -- a great deal more -- to come.

-- Rachel Hartigan Shea

By Rachel Hartigan Shea |  November 18, 2008; 7:00 AM ET Rachel Hartigan Shea
Previous: Prize Reflections | Next: What Plumbers Do After They've Been Made Famous to Illustrate a Political Point


Please email us to report offensive comments.

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2010 The Washington Post Company