Public Herald, Triple Divide, #fileroom open source project
Joshua B. Pribanic is an investigative journalist, photographer and filmmaker who co-founded Public Herald (est. 2011), a nonprofit for investigative journalism, and co-directed the acclaimed documentary Triple Divide. He currently operates as the Editor-in-Chief for Public Herald in Pittsburgh’s historic Paramount Film Exchange building.
In 2008, Pribanic (a Certified Permaculturalist from Oberlin College) founded a nonprofit for agricultural advocacy creating the first community gardens, edible landscapes and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in Erie County, OH; generating capital investment to nearly a dozen farms. Oberlin College recognized Pribanic’s achievements and took over the programs, adopting them into their New Agrarian Center. During this time he also founded and operated an online grassroots news organization in Ohio (now defunct).
The documentary Triple Divide, released in 2013, is Pribanic’s first feature-length production, praised as “the best documentary on fracking to date.” The work remains as one of the only middle ground films on the subject. It’s appeared in over 50 publications, chosen as the “Official Selection” for several film festivals, viewed in 28 countries, and continues to screen internationally.
In 2014, Pribanic released #fileroom (publicfiles.org) out of Public Herald, a first of its kind open source project to crowdsource state records and make them publicly available online. The #fileroom project launched with an original fracking complaint report that inspired The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to send out “fake news” correspondent Aasif Mandvi’s to create their first segment on the topic, “The Benefits of Fracking.”
His work at Public Herald has been awarded grants from the James L. Knight Foundation, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds and Investigative News Network. Its been used by the most reputable nonprofit organizations nationwide, as well as receiving support from Tesla Motors. Pribanic and the #fileroom team recently published a 40 page book on how to access and review state records. The nonprofit produced over 35 investigative multimedia reports, and amassed 900 Lifetime Members in only three years; all with only two people.
Pribanic adopts the age-old motto “Nullius in verba” or “Take nobody’s word for it” an instinct to question authority in light of the public interest, and sumak kawsay: an acceptance of the rights of nature. Focussing on ‘in-house’ original productions, most of his work hinges on a DIY ethic. His photography and film has been shown in galleries and theaters across the U.S. He’s currently working on a new film series with Public Herald titled “Invisible Hand” and a photography project around the theme of “Erosion” to be released in 2016.