Governor Mike Pence says he’s canceling plans for a controversial state-run news service.
The announcement came in a memo Pence sent to state agency heads Thursday that he was killing the program, called “Just IN.”
Plans for the proposal were reported Monday by the Indianapolis Star, and in the days that followed the administration tried to clarify that it meant to create a sort of clearinghouse for state agency press releases, not an actual media outlet.
But widespread criticism from reporters, politicians from both parties, and ordinary Hoosiers followed, with some comparing the proposal to state-controlled propaganda outlets in Russia and China.
Andrew Downs from the nonpartisan Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics says he’s not surprised the governor put the brakes on “Just IN.”
“This generated a huge amount of negative publicity, and so it’s not surprising that the idea is being shelved,” Downs said.
Still, he points out that several other states and the White House have programs similar to Pence’s program, and says a proposal similar to this one could come up in the future.
“But it’s going to be described in a different way, it’s going to look different than ‘Just IN’ looked, and it’s certainly going to have a different name,” he added.
Downs says he doesn’t expect any long-term political damage for the Pence camp, but he does think any effort to revamp the way the governor’s office communicates with the public in the future will be met with skepticism.