Public Herald Final Report: Using An Electric Car to Spread Reporting on Fracking

Public Herald was able to crisscross the country showing a documentary about oil and gas fracking without using a single drop of gasoline.

The INN member conducted a tour showing its Triple Divide documentary in a Tesla Model S, donated by Tesla Motors specifically for the tour after INN announced the Round 1 INNovation Fund grant awards in early 2014.

So far, Public Herald has covered over 14,000 miles without the use of gasoline and without emitting greenhouse gases.

Public Herald proposed to engage new audiences and increase sustainability by hosting events in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, California, Michigan and key areas in between where onshore unconventional oil and gas development via fracking is being planned or in the initial stages of development.

The goals of this project were to:

  • educate the public about our investigations of unconventional oil and gas development in one of the largest shale fields in the world,
  • build Public Herald’s membership and readership base
  • increase network partnerships
  • increase public knowledge and engagement with Public Herald’s new #fileroom project
  • test drive and review a zero​emission vehicle’s feasibility for long​-distance travel.

Since the tour’s launch on June 20, 2014, a total of 34 events have been completed. Five more screenings are planned for the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast before the tour’s official end.

Public Herald has gained 330 new subscribers and 105 new memberships during the tour. New and current members continue to be engaged through monthly exclusive Member Updates and  social media.

Each event consisted of a Triple Divide screening and discussion with local groups, elected officials, media and the public about the issues presented. Each community was introduced to Public Herald’s new open source #fileroom project at PublicFiles.org which makes otherwise “invisible” data about citizen reports of fracking impacts available to the public as digital files organized by state, county and township.

As with the documentary, audiences were enthralled with Public Herald’s depth of analysis and dedication to “real journalism.”

Seventeen additional screenings were held by others who heard about the tour and reached out to Public Herald to host independently: one in West Virginia, 11 in North Carolina, one in California, one in Nevada, one in Illinois, one in South Carolina, and one in New Jersey. Each screening host donated $40 to Public Herald for a Public Exhibition License to screen the film on their own, for an additional gross revenue of $680.

One of Public Herald’s screenings in Virginia also garnered an anonymous donation of $10,000, administered through the small nonprofit foundation Eco-living, for the production of an updated, 50-minute, second edition of Triple Divide.