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Budgeting for Monday

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Budget day is a tedious nightmare for news rooms. It’s a long day, characterised by hours of sitting around waiting for nothing to happen. Then desperate, frantic, bids to turn that nothing into news.

This year might be especially bad, because it is on a Monday – this one coming — rather than a Wednesday. So the Sunday’s might well have guessed/been leaked the main points.

Why is it on Monday? Because Wednesday is 31 October. Halloween. That might have made for some Spooktacular headlines, something chancellor Philip Hammond thinks he has avoided by bringing it forward two days.

It will also be exactly five months before the date of Brexit. So it’s sort of an official countdown clock too.

I think more than ever newsrooms will be indebted to flaks and clients who can tell us something we didn’t know. Spare us the windy commentary on the obvious main points. We’ve people who can crank that stuff out without your help. They are known in the trade as economics editors.

What plays best?

A news editor writes: “Short, fast commentary in the name of the chief executive. Or analysis from smaller industries (eg film, tech, telecoms) who have spotted something that will have a big impact on their business that wasn’t in the speech. That’s sometimes how we can get day two’s….”

Go for it.

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