Behind the story

Covering the Federal Budget 2017: Fast, Lean, Mean.

Another year, another budget. One of the main stories of the year does not come easy. It requires planning, experience and dedication.

Even though the experience made some things easier, it was a first in many ways, with a lock-up CMS to move content quickly and visual content production to show what words cannot say - and do it fast. 

Here is how twenty five of AAP's most experienced financial and political reporters covered this year's Budget announcement.


  • A total of 68 stories and factboxes/explainers were filed out of the lock up.
  • We produced 60 images and 10 video clips, three visual explainers, and a dozen flat graphics.  
  • Issues affecting every state were comprehensively covered.
  • All the text copy was moved within two minutes of the lock-up ending.
  • All digital content followed minutes later.


The AAP Budget team was led by Deputy Editor Jo Williamson, Canberra Bureau Chief Richard Lawson and AAP Editor Mike Osborne. But everyone on the AAP desk within the lock-up played a key role in helping us move with authority and precision.


This is the first year AAP used its new CMS within the lockup. Our engineering team built a stand-alone system that operated offline within the six-hour communications blackhole bringing excellent efficiency on delivery when it mattered.

But technology aside, we were well prepared having spoken to numerous stakeholders and working on preview content in the weeks beforehand.

The lock-up is a pressure cooker environment but we did not step back from the disciplines of fast, accurate and concise filing.


It was the last final minutes of a tight grand final - that goes for four hours - Stevie J, Budget debutant

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