The Power of Political Writing

My name is Gabriel Sherman. I am a contributing editor at New York Magazine and a special correspondent for the New Republic.  Previously, I was a staff writer at Conde Nast Portfolio. Prior to 2006, I was the media reporter at the New York Observer, where I reported extensively on the internal newsroom fights that roiled the New York Times, including the paper’s flawed coverage of Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction and the decision to delay publishing its NSA wiretapping exclusive for more than a year. I reported extensively on Judith Miller’s fight with Times editors and reporters, and ultimately sat down for her first interview on the eve of her resignation from the paper.

I have served as a media commentator on CNN, MSNBC and National Public Radio, any my journalism has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Slate, the Atlantic, Wired, Outside Magazine and National Geographic Adventure, among other publications.  A competitive runner, I have run six marathons and I finished the 2003 New York City Marathon in 2:56:29. I have also run up the stairs of the Empire State Building in 13:26.

  • Transcript


Gabriel Sherman: There is a mass of the daily coverage which is . . . And this is another point that people like to debate – that is political writing too focused on the horse race – the who’s up; the who’s down; who’s raised the most money. To some extent I think that’s a very natural kind of reporting. I think it gives the beat reporters a framework, and I also think that’s a very large part of the political process.

Who’s up and who’s down? Who is raising more money? I mean money is just a reflection of how much that message is resonating. And so I have no problem with that type of coverage.

The coverage that I like, or that I feel illuminates the candidates in a deeper sense are the pieces that step back and either explore a theme or get deeper access to a candidate that takes you beyond the daily sort of the constant messaging that happens in a campaign and really tries to explain in a deeper sense what the candidate, who they are as a person; how their campaign is a reflection of their sort of deeper self.


Gabriel Sherman: It’s hard to know. I have a biased sample because living in New York and having a lot of friends who are journalists, I think I’m somewhat in the media bubble. But I know just my own experience, the pieces that stick with me long after I have read everything I can about the daily coverage or the . . . you know the deeper, more probing, longer pieces.


Recorded on: February 8, 2008