If you had told me a year ago — or even yesterday — that a conservative Republican governor would launch a taxpayer-funded government media outlet, I would have laughed in your face. But that’s exactly what Republican Governor (and former Chairperson of the U.S. House Republican Conference) Mike Pence of Indiana has just announced. This is supremely mystifying.
Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news service that will provide pre-written news stories to Indiana news outlets, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.
Pence is planning to launch “Just IN” in late February, a website and news service that will feature stories written by state press secretaries and is being overseen by a former Indianapolis Star reporter, Bill McCleery.
“At times, Just IN will break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion,” according to a question-and-answer sheet distributed last week to communications directors for state agencies.
Update: On January 29, 2015, Gov. Pence’s administration announced they were canceling plans for the project.