“The media today is heavily weighted toward trouble and danger,” says PNS founder Lark Corbeil, “And PNS is interested in solutions and the people that can find shared values that the majority of Americans can agree on.”

Stories of solutions: Boulder-based national news service amplifies underserved voices

BOULDER — For Lark Corbeil, founder and managing editor of Boulder-based Public News Service, delivering news to which most Americans don’t have access is the foundation of her mission.

The company “advocates journalism in the public interest, reporting on social, community and environmental issues,” she said, adding that PNS differs from other news services because “we are looking to find shared solutions.”

As a young journalist working for Reuters in New York City more than 20 years ago, Corbeil was on the team that helped transition the company from exclusively a print news provider to the addition of television reporting. She took that experience to Hollywood and worked for Channel One.

“This was the first time I worked in a commercial shop where advertisers had sway,” she said. “I was never exposed to that at Reuters. At Channel One, there was influence from advertisers and that was a shock for me.”

That assignment didn’t work out, and Corbeil moved to Idaho, where her family has roots. There, she plugged into the community and the local public radio station, where she learned that medium. While working in the newsroom, she saw that a huge amount of content was being provided by agenda-driven sources. One of those was the taxpayer-funded Republican Legislative News Service, coming out of the Idaho Statehouse. There was no Democratic news service, offering up opposing viewpoints. Again, the journalist Corbeil was shocked by how the news was reported and how “really good perspectives and voices” were given little to no print or broadcast coverage.

“And then the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed, and I saw the writing on the wall,” said Corbeil.

Among the provisions of the act signed by President Bill Clinton were loosening of the limits on the number of radio stations one company could own in an individual market. The Telecom Act also allowed for media cross-ownership — the ownership of multiple media businesses by a person or corporation — and deregulated the converging broadcast and telecommunications industries. Additionally, it was the first time the internet was included in broadcast legislation.

“This was only going to get worse,” she said. “There was only going to be more consolidation (of news services), making it harder for the marginalized voices to be included in the public debate.”

It was then that Corbeil started Public News Service with the goal of presenting honest reporting that isn’t tied to the “if it bleeds, it leads” type of news stories that garner headlines, such as tragedies and accidents that engender fear.

“The media today is heavily weighted toward trouble and danger,” said Corbeil, “And PNS is interested in solutions and the people that can find shared values that the majority of Americans can agree on. Look at these big, very contentions issues in our country: Over 60 percent of the people would agree on a solution, but you don’t hear that in most of our daily news. What are those solutions that the 60 percent are thinking about, or might want to think about? And those are the stories we’re interested in. We’re looking for the voices that can provide answers. We don’t want to demonize anyone or cause polarization.”

Today, PNS tells stories that are not being told from perspectives that are not being examined. With eight full-time employees and 23 part-time and contract staff members, the organization is supported by memberships and grants, and manages independent news services in 36 states. More than 50 million people are reached each week via national media outlets. The general public can subscribe to PNS and have content emailed to them based on region or specific issues or view content on the PNS website or through social media platforms. Media outlets and journalists are able to access multi-platform content at no charge.

Conservative news-talk radio shows are among the media accessing PNS’ news wire, as well as public, community, ethnic and religious outlets on air, in print and on websites. Future expansion plans include more Spanish-language production and growing coverage into all 50 states, Canada and Mexico.

Earlier this month, PNS launched its first-ever Kickstarter campaign to produce and deliver 72 stories for the duration of the election cycle. The beats to be covered include economic justice, reproductive rights, immigration, gun control, climate change, transgender rights and criminal justice reform. The intent is to “bridge and deepen the public conversation, creating a more informed public.”

In addition to fully funding the Kickstarter campaign, Corbeil’s goals for PNS include reaching a wider audience by engaging more media outlets to download content and educating the public regarding independent, state-based news, as well as growing internationally and into the remaining 14 states that do not have PNS news services. Corbeil is constantly looking at ways to diversify the company’s funding streams. Another goal is to make PNS an employee-owned company.

PNS’s original goal is always at the forefront.

“It’s been 20 years since PNS was started, and not every story hits all the cylinders we wanted to hit,” said Corbeil. “But we do a lot to lift up those marginalized voices, voices that just would not be heard on mainstream media. And that’s our joy. That’s what makes us proud as journalists.”

BOULDER — For Lark Corbeil, founder and managing editor of Boulder-based Public News Service, delivering news to which most Americans don’t have access is the foundation of her mission.

The company “advocates journalism in the public interest, reporting on social, community and environmental issues,” she said, adding that PNS differs from other news services because “we are looking to find shared solutions.”

As a young journalist working for Reuters in New York City more than 20 years ago, Corbeil was on the team that helped transition the company from exclusively a print news provider to the addition of television reporting. She took that experience to Hollywood and worked for Channel One.

“This was the first time I worked in a commercial shop where advertisers had sway,” she said. “I was never exposed to that at Reuters. At Channel One, there was influence from advertisers and that was a shock for me.”

That assignment didn’t work out, and Corbeil moved to Idaho, where her family has roots. There, she plugged into the community and the local public radio station, where she learned that medium. While working in the newsroom, she saw that a huge amount of content was being provided by agenda-driven sources. One of those was the taxpayer-funded Republican Legislative News Service, coming out of the Idaho Statehouse. There was no Democratic news service, offering up opposing viewpoints. Again, the journalist Corbeil…