It pains me to say it, but this is a good idea. (The reason I know it's a good idea is that I've been suggesting it to Dems for years.) Pence is bypassing legacy media to speak directly to the voters. He'll feed stories that will get picked up by the small dailies and weeklies who lack content, thereby influencing people he wouldn't ordinarily reach. And as much as Dems will howl, his communications department is already taxpayer-funded.
It's depressing that Republicans are so much better at marketing than we are:
Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news outlet that will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.
Pence is planning in late February to launch "Just IN," a website and news outlet that will feature stories and news releases 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.
The Pence news outlet will take stories written by state communications directors and publish them on its website. Stories will "range from straightforward news to lighter features, including personality profiles."
The endeavor will come at some taxpayer cost, but precisely how much is unclear. The news service has two dedicated employees, whose combined salary is nearly $100,000, according to a search of state employee salary data.
A Pence spokeswoman on Monday downplayed the move, describing it as similar to the state's current online calendar of news releases, but with a new design. She declined to immediately answer other questions but said the administration would release more details soon.