Michigan state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D) is calling for the state to create a digital news portal to keep up with the changing nature of news.
She made the proposal to the Michigan Senate Tuesday, the day after the state Legislature voted to approve a bill that will require the creation of a statewide news portal, or SOP, for state agencies.
Chappellelle-Sadal wants Michigan to establish a portal so that journalists can access all state-related news on one site.
She said that the portal would not only be able to keep pace with the rapid technological changes, but also provide an avenue for Michigan residents to easily access local and national news.
“We’ve got a lot of great news organizations, but we also have a lot more stories and we have a little bit of a lack of information about what is going on,” Chappeles’ spokeswoman, Rebecca Fink, told The Washington Post in an email.
“We’ve always had a digital reporting process, but now we’ve got an opportunity to create one for state government and the public.”
The Michigan SOP is scheduled to be finalized next week.
The state Senate approved a measure that would create a statewide portal to news organizations and other entities, which would be tasked with keeping up with all the latest state news.
The bill, which passed out of the House in February and is expected to go to the governor’s desk in the coming weeks, would require the state’s public information agencies, like the Michigan Department of Public Health, to create an SOP.
Chapeles-Nader said the portal, which could cost about $2 million, would allow the state “to have a one-stop-shop for all the information that’s needed to make informed decisions.”
“What we need is to have the ability to get information in to the public that’s relevant and timely,” she said.
Chippelle-Napelle-Wyatt, a former state senator who was elected in 2010, said the SOP would be an important tool to assist state agencies in their reporting of newsworthy events.
She called it a “gold standard for public health.”
“The public should be able access all the health information that we have,” Chippelles said.
“I don’t think we need another paperless health system.”
A number of states have created a state news portal.
Iowa has the Iowa Public Health Service portal, and Minnesota has a statewide health portal.
And the Oregon Health Authority has a portal.
Michigan has a separate state portal, the Michigan State Information Service, which provides state information to the general public.
“If you look at a lot that we do nationally, we have an information delivery system that is not aligned with the public information that is going to be available,” Fink said.
But she said Michigan’s SOP was being “designed with a public information system in mind” and that the state would be able “to innovate” with its own system.
Michigan State Public Health Services Director David Wills said the department will provide a status update on the state SOP in the next few weeks.
He said that a “slimmed down” version of the portal will be launched in the fall.