What is Public News Service?
There is a new normal as the news industry re-invents itself. Our ability to support a vibrant democracy and stay educated on the issues that affect our lives is challenged by increasingly fragmented media with under-resourced newsrooms. The result is not more voices, but more of the same voices – just louder – dominating public dialogue on mainstream media.
Our solution: Public News Service (PNS) pioneered the first member-supported public interest independent news service model in the commercial space in 1996. Currently PNS produces multi-platform and bilingual public interest news content that reaches over 40 Million weekly through over 8,000 other outlets. For comparison, CNN nightly news' audience is about 700,000.
We deliver multi-platform, public interest news to ALL the news outlets and border markets: broadcast, print, online and social media in the 37 states (and growing) where we operate. Where we have funding, we also translate and distribute stories to all Spanish-speaking media and offer supporters access to Mainstream Media Projects' talk show booking service and additional Spanish media services.
Our mission is an informed and engaged citizenry making educated decisions in service to justice in all forms, sustainability, compassion and democracy. Our role is to inform, inspire, excite and sometimes reassure people in a rapidly changing world.
According to Harvard social scientist James Scott, for major social shifts to come about, people must 1) know they are not alone in their thinking; 2) believe an idea is viable; and 3) have hope that change is possible. (Power and the Arts of Domination: Hidden Transcripts, 1992).
Every news story has the potential to do all three, and we track the positive policy developments over time on issues we cover.
Across the country, Public News Service is reaching over 40 Million people weekly through over 8,000 media outlets.
Currently, we're supporting news services in AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV and WY and more are in development! If you do not see your state listed here, contact us to find out more about how we can get a news service started!
Making a Difference
This broad reach does not happen by accident, and it doesn't happen with PR; take a moment to learn more about how supporting independent journalists who share your values can be invaluable in getting public interest stories out there in ways that many more people will see and hear. Our Reach →
Public News Service "covers the beat" of issues that are important to the public, our journalists and 100s of visionary individuals, NGO's, and "triple bottom line" businesses that provide support because they see the need and value in ongoing public education. We are constantly innovating and our reporting spans geographic, political and technical divides.
How We Work
Memberships, gifts and grants allow anyone to be a philanthropist and help fund a beat. Similar to 'voting' for your favorite program on public broadcasting, there is explicit understanding that our journalists maintain all editorial authority.
A single annual membership contribution provides resources to report on 6-8 stories. We welcome pitches from our supporters and assistance in finding spokespeople and information for timely news stories on the issues they care about. Our job is to cover the issues that matter: supporters are not excluded from being quoted themselves, however any branding opportunity is ancillary and minimal. (For branding needs or campaigning, please check out our corporate sponsor SoundBite Services, it's more cost-effective than ad buys and 100% of profits goes to fund PNS news - a win-win-win!)
Our producers generate story ideas and take pitches. Usually all it takes is an email or phone call to pitch a story - news releases are not necessary - and being available by phone for fact-checking once the story is done. Each completed news story (with versions for broadcasters, online, print and podcasts) is sent to media outlets statewide, national networks when appropriate, and followed up with a detailed pickup report.
We work with national funders on several levels. Support one, many, or all of the state news services and know that our producers will be regularly covering the beat of the issues you care about, and asking for your help to stay current and help find good sources. Our multi-state memberships allow you to support key strategic states and give us the resources to produce up to 8 stories per membership in each selected state. Opportunities for news never sleep. Please contact our outreach and development staff to discuss options, today!