A coalition of public-affairs networks that provide cable and broadcast coverage of state governments and political events have joined forces in a formal trade association.
The backers of the new group, the National Association of Public Affairs Networks, come from 30 states that already have such networks, or are trying to form them.
In all, 39 states offer television or Internet coverage of state government activities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The new group's president, Paul Giguere, who's also president of the Connecticut Network, said the goal is to raise public awareness as to the availability of these networks — and their dedication to providing unfiltered information about the machinations of state government.
"With the well-documented lower amount of broadcast-news coverage of government, we believe our networks open a window on government to the public," Giguere said in a statement.
NAPAN will be developing its agenda over the next few months, and the trade group is soliciting input from the satellite industry, cable TV providers and the public.
It is also developing a Web site (www.napan.net), intended to provide resources to states that may be contemplating the launch of a new public-affairs network.