TODAY   |  October 31, 2012

New book captures excitement of election night

Exciting election night broadcasts have been a national tradition since the birth of network TV news in 1948. The characters and the plot lines change, but it’s all about finding out who wins the White House. Author Steve Battaglio explains it all in his new ebook, “Election Night: A Television History 1948 to 2012.”

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>>> election night broadcasts have been a national tradition since 1948 , and we're now just six days away from another one. the thrills, the disappointments, all captured in a new enhanced e-book from nbc publishing called "election nig night, a television history , 1948 to 2012 ." the author is a tv editor at " tv guide ." steve, good morning.

>> good morning.

>> what is an enhanced e-book as opposed to a regular e-book.

>> this book tells the story of election coverage as it was told on television over the years, and it has, if you look at the book on a nook or an ipad, you will actually see over an hour and a half of video from the nbc archives that we can even demonstrate it right here. this is the 1948 call on truman, and when you get to that chapter, there's an actual videotape that you can see and call up on the book and you can actually watch what it looked like that first night, that first national election that was covered on nbc .

>> so you've mined really the nbc archives, video, photographs. it's just a rich cap industry. if you're a political junkie or history junkie, you love this stuff. another one we want to jump to 1980 , ronald reagan winning a landslide victory over jimmy carter .

>> what's interesting about this is that the electoral map that we use today to see red states and blue states was actually created at nbc news in 1976 . in 1980 when they used it, republicans were blue and the democrats were red, and it was that way for a while until 1996 . what's interesting about the 1980 race is that reagan's sweep across the country led david brinkley to say that the map looked like a suburban swimming pool, and there are a lot of fun moments like that throughout the book where you really get the look and feel of what election night was like over these different areas.

>> brinkley, chancellor and brokaw sitting in front of that map, 2000 , who can forget, that and really probably the iconic moment of that election night was the late great tim russert with the white board .

>> so much confusion on the ground that night with the calls in florida and the tight race and the electoral college and really the simplest way for tim russert to explain it to have the white dry erase board, and -- and that iconic moment when he wrote florida , florida , florida on it. we all now know what that means, and one of those white boards ended up in the smithsonian institution . it was such a landmark in television history .

>> for all the technology we had available it all came down that night to tim's white board .

>> the simplest way to express it because it really -- it was almost a tv program about adding at that point.

>> in our most recent presidential election 2008 brian williams did something pretty unique on election night .

>> brian knew it would be a very special night. they went into the night having a pretty good idea that barack obama was going to win, and how do you tell this story of the first african- american president ? it was