"had a compelling need to bring high-quality information and perspective to the public to help ‘connect the dots’ on complicated issues that affect, and sometimes control, our lives.”
Lark Corbeil, in a Nov. 2009, MGP interview
Written by Mike Solakian, Missouri School of Journalism, Nov. 2009
Lark Corbeil is the founder of the Public News Service, began in her "childhood paradise," of Idaho. Corbeil, however, didn't start out with a journalistic fire. She graduated from the University of California – Berkeley in 1982 with a political science and international telations degree. This field of study, however, is what led her into the journalism world.
During a study abroad program that led Corbeil to Taiwan, she taught English at a government owned television network and then had an unpaid job helping with English translations. After her graduation, she did a series of video profiles on mostly Chinese artists as well as a documentary on Hip Hop in Los Angeles (where she stayed after graduation) in the early 80's for Taiwanese television.
After this endeavor, Corbeil moved to the New York City to work at a small video production company as an office manager, which led her to a job as an administrative assistant to the news director in the international newsroom called Visnews, which then became Reuters TV.
While moving around from various positions at Visnews, Corbeil found herself as the point person for Reuters' first attempt at Television and oversaw the integration of their print journalists on camera on the Nightly Business report. Now, while all of this is groundbreaking, Corbeil prides herself on being (as far as she can tell) the first person to make a 'smoke-free newsroom' in New York. Quite a large feat.
In fear of becoming a 'news run' at Reuters, Corbeil left the big apple for Hollywood and a short stint as coordinating producer with Channel One. She didn't enjoy her first run-in with pressure from the commercial side of television, and decided to once again leave LA.
This time, Corbeil found herself in that childhood paradise of Idaho. Now, in her dream place, Corbeil co-founded the Livable Community Group, which is a non-profit organization to promote alternatives to urban sprawl. She also volunteered for several community organizations and also volunteered at the local public radio station KBSU to learn more about radio news.
Corbeil says she was shocked at the amount of content provided by the far-right political wing, which was used by all the broadcast media, especially radio. She says there was even a taxpayer supported "Republican News Service" coming out of the statehouse in Idaho, but none for the Democratic Party.
In order to balance the content the public was receiving, Corbeil chose to start a similar news service to Reuters, but at the state level with a focus on the issues, voices and perspectives she thought were not covered properly on the airwaves at that time, which was the Public News Service.
Corbeil says the site was truly for the public. The news service, now run out of two main offices, one in Boulder, Colorado and the other in the original site of Boise, reaches out to the public across the country. Public News Service has local producers based in each state it covers in order to offer content and information for all those areas. It covers almost any governmental topic, and a sleek, easy to use design gives the viewer the options to view stories by state or by topic.
When asked the reason she created Public News Service, Corbeil said, "Educated people making informed decisions. I had a compelling need to bring high-quality information and perspective to the public to help 'connect the dots' on complicated issues that affect, and sometimes control, our lives." Thankfully, she hit the nail on the head and now has a website made easy to connect those dots.