INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence plans to launch his own state-run, state-funded news service, the announcement of which sparked comparisons of the Republican governor to leaders in Russia and North Korea.
Pence is launching the news website, called Just In, in February, the Indianapolis Star reported. It will be overseen by former Star reporter Bill McCleery and will include feature stories and news releases written by state press secretaries.
The endeavor will come at the cost of taxpayers, but so far the exact dollar amount is unclear. There will be two employees dedicated to the publication and their combined salary is $100,000.
The target of Just IN would be smaller newspapers across the state that might not have the staff to cover state news extensively.
"I think it's a ludicrous idea," said Jack Ronald, the publisher of the Portland Commercial Review. His newspaper is one of the smaller publications Just IN is targeting.
"I have no problem with public information services -- the Purdue University agriculture extension service does a great job. But the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press."
Ronald isn't the only one who isn't a fan of the news outlet. The Democratic Governors Association launched a hashtag, #JustINHeadlines, mocking Pence's move by suggesting headlines for future stories.
Gov Mike Pence: Great Governor or Greatest Governor? #JustINHeadlines— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) January 27, 2015
Indiana Governor Mike Pence scores record 18 straight hole-in ones #JustINHeadlines— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) January 27, 2015
Does Gov Mike Pence look better in a blue or black suit? #JustINHeadlines— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) January 27, 2015
Mike Pence could be President #JustINHeadlines— Democratic Governors (@DemGovs) January 27, 2015
The DGA sent out an email highlighting some of these fake headlines, including one that compared him to the leader of another government that relies on state-run news, North Korea.
"Dennis Rodman visiting South Bend next week #JustInHeadlines Mike Pence scores record 18 straight hole-in ones #JustInHeadlines," one of the suggested headlines read.
Rodman made headlines last year for visiting North Korea and reportedly becoming friends with the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.
Others picked up on the #JustINHeadlines hashtag on Twitter.
Governor Mike Pence drinks Putin under the table. #JustInHeadlines— Craig Briskin (@cbdcmd) January 27, 2015
Chairman Pence reviews the troops in preparation for assault on Illinois #JustINHeadlines— Closet Factory Maine (@MEClosets) January 27, 2015
Taliban Admires New Indiana #JustINheadlines— Joseph W. Roberts (@prof_jwroberts) January 27, 2015