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Group of Columbia Journalism Students Launch TheFiveFortyFive.com

Should Nate Silver be worried? No.

The545LogoPer a report by India’s Zee News, TheFiveFortyFive.com is the brainchild of six current Columbia Journalism students. They are all of Indian heritage, and the single-subject focus of this new enterprise is the run-up to their homeland’s next national general election:

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 that makes up India’s Lok Sabha.

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

Very cool. We’ll keep an eye on this new project and applaud the group for their promise that the site will stay away from “high-brow and jargon-led reportage.” The next general election in India is scheduled to take place in multiple phases starting April 16 and ending May 13.

Update (February 14):
The Wall Street Journal, for their follow-up item, spoke to team member Goshal:

“I’d covered Indian elections in the past,” said Mr. Ghoshal, 27, who served as a correspondent for the Indian newspaper Business Standard before arriving at Columbia University. “And it irked me that sitting here in New York, I wasn’t going to be able to do the same.”

He explains that a course on the business of journalism was the trigger for TheFiveFortyFive.com. “I parachuted from a very traditional news environment in India that often resisted my suggestions to feature interactive elements to a very social media-driven news environment here in America,” he added. “And it’s what made me realize that nobody was taking [the latter] approach in India.”

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