The Indianapolis Star reported this week that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) would be channeling taxpayer dollars toward the creation of a state-run news site. It was to be called “Just IN.” “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 Q and A distributed among flacks for state agencies.
The blueprints for the site had some ambition: “We expect reporters to find the site useful, and some features are designed specifically for media professionals. Just IN, however, will function as a news outlet in its own right for thousands of Hoosiers — transparent in functioning as a voice of the State of Indiana’s executive branch,” according to a document highlighted by the Star.
Though “Just IN” would hardly have stood as the world’s first state-run media organization, a burst of media attention directed at this non-innovation laid the groundwork for a quick turnabout: Pence told the Star today that the state wouldn’t proceed with the project. “[R]ather 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,” notes a directive cited by the Star.
In a radio interview Wednesday, Pence said that he’d learned of the memo for “Just IN” from “press reports late Monday.” See what an independent media can do?