While many variations exist in programming and operating models among state public affairs networks, this set of “Best Practices” can be drawn from the most effective strategies used by highly regarded networks across the country:

1. Accessible to All: 24/7 programs on a dedicated channel across multiple platforms

A state public affairs network is most effective in connecting citizens to state government when it is available full-time to the maximum number of citizens possible, including a robust online presence with strong searchable streaming and on-demand content, accessibility enhancements such as closed captioning for the hearing impaired and a permanent archive of programming produced.

2. All Three Branches of State Government

A state public affairs network is most effective in connecting citizens to state government when it provides a nonpartisan, unbiased and unfiltered window on all official state business.

3. Operating at Arm’s Length

A state public affairs network is most effective in connecting citizens to state government when it is structured with an independent governing body using a set of agreed-upon operating guidelines to make programming and operational decisions free from political influence.

4. Citizen Engagement

A state public affairs network is most effective in connecting citizens to state government when it seeks to demystify the process of governing by providing additional information and context through on-screen graphics, online reference materials and links to other resources.

5. Programming Breadth

A state public affairs network is most effective in connecting citizens to state government when it provides a broad range of high-quality public affairs programming beyond gavel to gavel coverage of government proceedings, as well as official emergency information from appropriate state public safety agencies.