Budget, budget, budget

Monday of this week I was requested to cover the story on a grant that was to be voted on that evening by the city council. I’m not on the government or public life beat, so this was an entirely new world.

The supporting documentation had the basics of the proposed grant to supplement the previously allocated money. However, we had no update on the project from the previous year so I spent the afternoon calling various members of the City of Columbia. Here’s where the problems kicked in.

Each person I called had a different area of expertise in the project. So I was getting multiple facts from different sources and some of the facts overlapped or contradicted each other. It wasn’t long until my brain hurt. This is what happens when you analyze a budget. It’s full of legal and government jargon that you as the reporter have to sort and break down for the reader.

It’s a difficult task, but one after multiple phone calls and very necessary accuracy checks, I was able to complete. That’s the key here. Making sure you have all the facts correct, double checking them and making the story readable.

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