Anyone else have the same reaction I did to the Freep's opinion-section ComposoGraph today? (It's even cooler at full size, though the streak at upper right looks a little less like a surface-to-air missile.) Radioactive dinosaur that ate Tokyo? Eggplant that ate Chicago? You make the call!
Risible photo illustrations aside, though, there is a point worth pondering over the next month or so. Lots of news organizations have had trouble figuring out when and under what conditions to cast the November election as a political event and when (to the extent they're different) its social/historical aspect takes over. That's not surprising; it was both those things, and anyone who claims to know exactly where the dividing line falls (when, and to the extent that, there is one) has probably got a bridge to sell you too.
Regular reader Garrett passed along a nice bit of overnight content analysis after the election: After the "Obama wins" category, the biggest groupings of hed themes, with several dozen each, were "Change has come," "Obama" (alone or with punctuation) and "History." A few steps down, there's a cluster of "Yes he did" (10) and "Yes we can" (9). If I'd been playing along, I might have added a bin for references to the civil rights momement, because a couple of those stood out: "In our lifetime" (Anniston) and "Obama reaches the mountaintop" (Newark). But Garrett certainly came away with an informative snapshot of how editors made that spur-of-the-moment decision; no doubt we'll be seeing academic papers on the topic by August or so.
I don't know that I'd disagree with any of those first-day approaches outright (though it's always nice to have some evidence before proclaiming the advent of "Change"). As we get down to the business of sizing up interests and handing out political goods, though, it's worth remembering that at some point we're going to have to put away the crayons and get back to reporting about those interests and those goods.