In the midst of working on a book about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Jonathan Allen and co-author Amie Parnes received a troubling call from their editor.

“He said ‘this is foreboding, this is ominous,'” Allen told a packed audience in the Richard Eaton Broadcast Theater at Knight Hall Wednesday evening.

The editor at Penguin Random House — like so many pollsters and political pundits in 2016 — felt Clinton would defeat Donald Trump in the general election. But the book read like the tale of a failed campaign.

Reporting and writing chapter-by-chapter, Allen (Government and Politics ’98) and Parnes had not realized the picture painted by the collective work. And they weren’t certain until 10 o’clock on election night that they wouldn’t “have to go back and tear stuff up.”

It was a relief for Allen, who discussed “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” with Bloomberg White House correspondent and White House Correspondents’ Association President Margaret Talev (Journalism ’94).

The discussion was co-hosted by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.

“You always want to keep an open mind,” said Talev, who covered the Clinton campaign for Bloomberg. “But you always have an instinct.”

Margaret Talev and Jonathan Allen speak with students after discussing Allen's book, "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign."

Margaret Talev and Jonathan Allen speak with students after discussing Allen’s book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.”

Allen said he and Parnes, also co-authors of “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton,” hadn’t set out to write about a doomed run for president. “It was really just reporting the story” that led them to that narrative.

“We take the readers through the moments as they’re happening,” he said.

Allen, national political reporter at NBC News, and Parnes, senior political correspondent for The Hill, are also planning a book on the 2020 election.