Reading The Fine Print: ACJ-Bloomberg students produce Budget Edition on February 1, 2021

The financial journalism class of the Asian College of Journalism produced a special edition of its lab journal The Bottomline on February 1 to explain the impact of the Union Budget on everyone from business titans to daily wage labourers.

The main stories of the edition focused on the Indian government’s efforts to revive the ailing economy, the widening fiscal deficit and the renewed focus on the healthcare sector in the face of the pandemic.

The students on campus worked closely with their peers learning from home — via Zoom and phone — to bring out the three-page edition covering the first paperless budget in Indian history.

The day began with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech, followed by the release of the Budget documents. The students tracked several sectors from banking to health.

They only had a few hours to find the sector-wise allocations, compare the budgetary estimates with the revised figures, get in touch with their sources to make sense of the “so what” of the announcements and write their copies. 

The Budget edition gave the students a chance to build sources, experiment with story formats and page design, collaborate closely with peers, think on their feet and come up with viable alternatives when pre-planned ideas fell through.