INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 27, 2015) - The Governor’s plan to start his own government run news service to effectively bypass the journalists that cover his administration is causing a firestorm at the Statehouse.
Internal state documents show Governor Mike Pence is looking to launch a news website later this month, called “Just IN,” complete with news stories, written by his staff.
“Throughout my career I’ve been committed to a free and independent press,” said Pence during a news conference Tuesday.
Documents obtained by our news gathering partners at IndyStar show the “Just IN” website will, “break news – publishing information ahead of any other news outlet.”
Pence Tuesday began to walk-back the plan, “My understanding is that the website, that has become a source of controversy, was simply an effort to have a one stop shopping website for press releases and information coming from various state agencies. It’s meant to be a resource, not a news source,” he said.
But according to Pence’s press secretary, a news source is exactly what the website will be. In a news release sent out Tuesday afternoon, Pence’s press office admitted “Just IN will be a “news resource website.”
“I like to think that what we’re doing is we’re trying to provide some expert context to what’s happening. Anyone can go to the website and read a press release,” said IndyStar political reporter, Tom LoBianco.
LoBianco was the first to report about “Just IN.” He’s worried the site will circumvent reporters and plug propaganda-like news directly to voters.
“Some people have said it sounds too much like Goebbels. People have made Russian Pravda references, state-run media. It’s a step beyond that,” he said.
“This is something they ought to back track from because any time you see your own name in the same sentence as Vladimir Putin, you probably need to rethink your decision,” said State Rep. Scott Pelath (D - Michigan City).
Pelath, the Indiana House Minority leader told the Governor Tuesday to back out, of “Just IN.”
“To take on the traditional media in its entirety, not well advised,” said Pelath.
The Governor has said he will clarify what exactly the role of “Just IN” will be. Illinois, with “The Illinois Government News Network,” is the only other state with a slightly similar news distribution outlet.