By Ms. Lucie M. Raposo, Director of Public Information for WSBE Rhode Island PBS

In a year defined by “war” against a global pandemic, and with social movements calling for justice in the same cadence of prior generations, today’s headlines are not unlike the ones that we, as a nation, have seen before. Unmistakable parallels evoke the 1960s and ’70s, when anti-war sentiment, civil rights empowerment, and counter-cultural attitudes dominated the American media landscape. And, although times are always changing, the press remains a powerful tool in shaping social discourse – especially in circles that operate underground.

On January 11, 2021, WSBE Rhode Island PBS presents a new documentary that delves into one of the most influential underground media publications of its time. Under the Ground: The Story of Liberation News Service, a Rhode Island PBS Original, chronicles the rise and fall of the namesake news operation, which contributed to hundreds of newspapers, college publications, and radio stations between 1967 and 1981.

Featuring live interviews with former staffers, journalists, and activists, the film incorporates footage from the turbulent times and culturally-defining moments that were covered extensively by the LNS, including the 1967 March on the Pentagon and the 1968 sit-ins at Columbia University. The film also examines the fascinating lives of Marshall Bloom and Ray Mungo, two LNS founders who organized a split from the New York offices and moved their base of operations to rural Massachusetts.

Regarded as the “AP of the underground press,” Liberation News Service was tailored to those who felt ignored and misrepresented by mainstream media. The film draws a connection between the LNS of the 1960s and the activism of today, demonstrating how its legacy lives on through social media and the modern progressive movement.

Rhode Island PBS director Dorothy Dickie has produced content for Canadian and American broadcasters for more than 20 years. She is the recipient of a National Emmy and a Peabody Award. Under the Ground: The Story of Liberation News Service is her first independent, feature-length documentary.

Under the Ground: The Story of Liberation News Service premieres on WSBE Rhode Island PBS on January 11 at 9 p.m.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS transmits over the air on digital 36.1; Cox 08 / 1008HD, Verizon FiOS 08 / 508HD, and Full Channel 08; Comcast 819HD and Verizon FiOS 18 / 518HD in MA; DirecTV 36, Dish Network 36.

Watch the film on demand after its January 11 debut: