Newsroom profiles

Politics and pizza: Election Day newsroom traditions

It’s commonly said that nothing in this world is certain except death, taxes and Election Day Pizza.

My personal theory of the origins of pizza being the staple food of newsrooms on election days can be traced back to ancient Grecian reporters covering the founding of modern democracy and preferring an olive oil-coated crust — obviously — with crumbled feta cheese, which may or may not be how things actually went down.

pizza urn
Ancient Greek urn depicting one of the first known examples of Election Day Pizza. Date unknown.

Regardless of the real origin story, the tradition still very much stands, as proven by multiple pizza-related hashtags, which should not be viewed by hungry eyes.

We reached out to GateHouse Media newsrooms that are all gearing up for Nov. 8 and asked folks to share their favorite Election Day traditions (pizza or otherwise).

Scott Brown, managing editor, Canton Repository

A Canton Repository's Election Day pizza party. Photo: Scott Brown
A Canton Repository Election Day pizza party. Photo: Scott Brown

“The owner of Zepp’s Pizza in North Canton knows we’ll be calling. We switched to Zepp’s a couple years ago at the behest of sports guys — who know pizza better than anyone, of course — and we dove in and haven’t regretted the decision.

A previous managing editor who left nearly a decade ago used to make a stromboli dish for everyone for election night. Guaranteed that staff will ask about making stromboli myself a couple times this year, but alas that’s not in my wheelhouse.”

Mike Klocke, editor, The Record

Artist rendering of dim sum pizza.
Artist rendering of dim sum pizza.

“We’ve certainly had our fair share of election/pizza evenings. But we’ve thrown a few change-ups over the years.

My favorite was the time our newsroom admin Paula Allard hooked us up with a local Chinese restaurant. Instead of Election Night Pizza, we had Election Night Dim Sum. It was great. 

Also, one of our former advertising folks, who now runs her own PR firm, comes into our office around 9 p.m. on many election nights — during that lull between when the polls close and when stories are due. Carrie brings us ice cream — in her pajamas and slippers.”

Lynne Sullivan, Editor in Chief, The Herald News

Fall River's final scores. Congrats, Aaron!
Fall River’s final scores. Congrats, Aaron!

“So, the favorite Election Night Pizza is, by far, chourico pizza. What is that, you ask? It’s a spicy Portuguese sausage – we have a huge Portuguese population in Fall River (think Emeril Lagasse). Pepperoni won’t do in Fall River – we have to ‘kick it up a notch’ with chourico pizza.

One election night, early in my tenure as editor in chief, I thought I would switch it up a bit, and I ordered grinders instead of pizza. Dumb, very dumb. One of my copy editors actually even posted on Twitter later that night that while he was happy to have food provided, he really missed ‘Election Night Pizza.’ There’s no hashtag for #ElectionNightGrinders.

But the other tradition we have is that Jon Root, our director of content and interactive, sets up a newsroom contest, where we can each ‘predict’ the outcome of the election. He assigns a point system and the highest point-getter wins (typically the prize is a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card…journalists love their coffee).”

pizza quoteMadison Taylor, editor, The Burlington Times-News

“Pizza is our tradition.

I think one year we did deviate and get barbecue — but one staff member was a vegetarian and wasn’t too happy with the change.

Pizza: The safe and politically correct choice on election night.”

Mike Cazalas, editor, Panama City News Herald

Delicious Election Day Pizza in Panama City, Florida. Photo: Mike Cazalas
Delicious Election Day Pizza in Panama City, Florida. Photo: Mike Cazalas

“Without fail one of the first questions I get during Election Day morning is whether we’ll have pizza that night. But it’s not as simple as just ordering pizza like it used to be because we now have a couple of vegetarians, one who is severely lactose intolerant and a couple who are on gluten-free diets so it’s become a little bit of work for the editors!

So pizza remains the staple, but we put out inquiries ahead of time and have added salads to the mix (thank you, Domino’s!), and will grab a fruit-and-cheese tray as well so we can all settle in and eat pizza like starving orphans while awaiting the results and finding 10 minutes to circle up at the TV to mock their reporters.

The wonderful culmination of all this, the highlight of our night that’s not directly related to our stories, is the 10- to 15-minute period where we all have our food and we stand in front of the TVs to make fun of the TV reporters and their horrid reporting!”

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