Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) is formally putting the kibosh on plans to launch a state-run news site.
Pence told The Indianapolis Star on Thursday that he is canceling plans to launch a state-run news service. The service, which was to be called “Just IN,” would have offered pre-written stories to local outlets throughout the state. The venture was intended to occasionally compete with independent news sources on stories about Pence’s administration.
Just IN was going to be staffed mostly by Pence communications staff. Plans for the website were first reported by the Star earlier in the week. Since then, Pence has had to walk back the idea amid overwhelming public ridicule.
Pence also sent the following memo to the heads of Indiana’s state agencies.
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 (www.in.gov/core/news_events.html). 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.
Michael R. Pence
Governor of Indiana