Columbia University students launch website on India's elections

Feb 12 2014, 10:59 IST
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A group of Indian students at Columbia University has launched a website focused exclusively on India's upcoming general elections. Reuters A group of Indian students at Columbia University has launched a website focused exclusively on India's upcoming general elections. Reuters
SummaryThe 'FiveFortyFive.com' is a 'single-subject website' focusing on the Indian general elections founded by six Columbia journalism school students.

A group of Indian students at Columbia University here has launched a website focused exclusively on India's upcoming general elections, promising to provide a comprehensive and "no high-brow and jargon-led" reportage of the event.

The 'FiveFortyFive.com' is a "single-subject website" focusing on the Indian general elections founded by six Columbia journalism school students.

It is being described as a platform for a "variety of voices" including students, academics, professionals, bureaucrats, journalists and even the "discerning politician" talking about what the "election means to them" since elections are "not just about political leaders and political parties." 

The students behind the day-old website – Devjyot Ghoshal, Anand Katakam, Iva Dixit, Indrani Basu, Rishi Iyengar and Aparna Alluri - chose the number 545 because that is the number of seats in the India's Lok Sabha.

The site hit 500 likes on Facebook in just about 36 hours and has over 400 followers on the microblogging site Twitter.

The website will offer election trivia and news without any "high-brow, jargon-led, politically-driven journalism" and "will break through the clutter, delivering pieces that'll interest even the most non-political of readers." It will make use of charts, graphics and visuals to "tell interesting stories" tailored for online consumption.

"This, after all, is the world's biggest exercise in democracy. TheFiveFortyFive.com will try and reinvent how it's reported, online," the description of the website said.

The website already has posts about India's first experiment with democracy, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's recent first ever interview to a TV news channel as well as about the dressing styles of some of India's most popular political leaders like BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

A post titled 'The Rahul Gandhi Interview In Numbers' breaks down the number of times the Congress scion mentioned words like 'system', 'economy' and 'riots' in his interview to the TV channel.

Another post "Dressing for Democracy" talks about India's "most dapper politicians"

"Be it bandhgala, handloom saree or Modi Kurta, dressing for politics doesn't come easy," it said.

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