What is the Commonwealth News Service?
Launched in 2004, the Commonwealth News Service (CNS) is part of a network of independent public interest state-based news services pioneered by Public News Service. Our mission is an informed and engaged citizenry making educated decisions in service to democracy; and our role is to inform, inspire, excite and sometimes reassure people in a constantly changing environment through reporting spans political, geographic and technical divides.
Especially valuable in this turbulent climate for journalism, currently 18 radio stations and used by 11 print/online outlets and 1 television stations for a total of 30 media outlets in Massachusetts and border states An average of 37 media outlets broadcast or ran each story in their paper and/or on their web page. These include outlets like:
- Bay State Banner, Boston
- Daily Times Chronicle, Woburn
- My Backyard, South Attleboro
- Post-Gazette, Boston (Italian-American print)
- WAQY-FM Springfield
- WATD-FM Boston
- Watering Hole Radio
- WBRK-FM, Pittsfield
- WBZ-TV, CBS Boston
- WHNP-AM news talk Northampton
Making a Difference
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: We deliver multi-platform, public interest news to ALL the news outlets in Massachusetts and border markets: broadcast, print, online and social media. 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 media services.
Across the country, Public News Service is reaching Over 40 Million people weekly through over 8,000 media outlets.
The map above shows the media outlets that picked up our stories last year across Massachusetts. Download the full list of outlet pickups. Note: This does not include all the websites which have widgets or picked up CNS stories from public websites where we cannot track where the stories end up -- just the number of downloads from our password-protected media outlets' website.
We invite you to take a moment to learn more in Our Reach about the 'new normal' and how supporting independent journalists who share your values can be invaluable in getting public interest messages out there in ways that many more people will see and hear.
How We Work
Our diverse funding mechanism allows anyone to be a philanthropist. Memberships, gifts and grants help fund our beats. Similar to 'voting' for your favorite program on public broadcasting, there is explicit understanding that all editorial authority rests with PNS.
A regular 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 SoundBite Services!)
Our producers generate story ideas and take pitches. Usually all it takes is an email or phone call - 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 members receive a detailed pickup report.