The Huffington Post Has a ‘No Writing Books’ Rule

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The Huffington Post executive editor Tim O'Brien and author/columnist Arianna Huffington speak at the launch party for Huffington. the new weekly iPad magazine for Huffington Post at the Gramercy Park Hotel Rooftop on June 13, 2012 in New York City. NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 13:  The Huffington Post executive editor Tim O'Brien and author/columnist Arianna Huffington speak at the launch party for Huffington. the new weekly iPad magazine for Huffington Post at the Gramercy Park Hotel Rooftop on June 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
O'Brien and Huffington. Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images2012 Getty Images

The Huffington Post executive editor who left the New York Times and helped bring the blog empire a Pulitzer Prize is vacating his job to write historical fiction. In a memo to staff today, Arianna Huffington explained that Tim O'Brien "is leaving to work on the second installment of his five-book publishing deal," the first of which, The Lincoln Conspiracy, came out last fall (and was feted with a Huffington book party). Following the announcement, Huffington "convened a meeting with top editors, newsdesk editors and national reporters," according to Capital New York, where she "cited a company policy dictating that employees can't write books while working at HuffPost." It's true.

"The policy is that anybody starting a new book must either leave employment or take a sabbatical," Huffington Post spokesperson Rhoades Alderson confirmed to Daily Intelligencer.

No replacement has been named, but Capital reports that the newsroom wasn't expecting a change in leadership. As one source put it, "What does it say that his departure would be announced over e-mail and catch everyone by surprise?"