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Indiana Gov. Cancels Plans for State-Run News Agency

Amid backlash, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is canceling his plans to create a state-run news agency that was designed to compete with the actual press, reports The Indianapolis Star.

“Just IN,” which was slated to launch in late February, would have featured stories written by state press secretaries that “range from straightforward news to lighter features, including personality profiles.”

Earlier this week, after the news broke about the creation of the state-run, taxpayer-funded agency, Pence said that this characterization is an “understandable misunderstanding,” and that the government employees would not be writing “news” articles, but would instead a “resource” and a “a one-stop shopping website for press releases and information.”

Pence sent the following memo to heads of Indiana’s actual news organizations:

From the outset of this administration you have heard me emphasize the importance of integrity and accountability to the public, and I am grateful for the manner that each of you has worked to serve the people of Indiana with transparency and a servant’s heart. As you are aware, concern has arisen regarding the development of a new website for the state of Indiana.

However well intentioned, after thorough review of the preliminary planning and careful consideration of the concerns expressed, I am writing to inform you that I have made a decision to terminate development of the JustIN website immediately.

The original intent of this project was to make press releases more readily available in a one-stop website for the convenience of the press and the public. At present, approximately 50 of the 90 executive branch state agencies and commissions post press releases on the state’s current public calendar website. This results in the press and the public having to visit multiple sources to stay informed about state activities.

Therefore, rather than developing a new website, I have instructed the Office of Information Technology to update the current public calendar website to ensure that the press and the public have unfiltered and convenient access to all press releases and public meeting notices. The updated calendar will be fully automated and designed to post all press releases and public meeting notices in real time.

Accordingly, effective immediately, I am directing you to instruct your communications office to work with the Office of Information Technology to ensure that all press releases and public notices issued from your agency are properly displayed on this public calendar and press releases website.

It is a great privilege for us to serve the people of Indiana and I am grateful every day to serve with men and women like you who share my determination to do so with integrity, servant leadership, and accountability.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,
Michael R. Pence
Governor of Indiana

[h/t TPM]
[Image via Shutterstock]

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