Calling all climate journalists: your dream job awaits, courtesy of Chevron. The oil giant is looking to hire people with journalistic experience to set up a “newsroom” – quotes around that word included in the job posting – to help spread
Propaganda the good news from Chevron.
The new business was first reported by E&E on Friday. In a hilarious twist worthy of being nominated for its own Pulitzer, E&E first learned of the new venture when one of its own reporters was approached by Cella, the recruiting agency responsible for… Hiring Chevron. The recruiter told the staff member that the job is a “great opportunity to join the Chevron newsroom at [its] childhood.” When the E&E reporter asked what topics the post would write about and whether climate change would be included, the recruiter replied that he would cover “everything related to Chevron.”
the original Jobs, titled “Business Writer, Oil & Energy”, was posted on LinkedIn by Cella and does not mention Chevron by name. (Other messages from Cella for a chief editor and one creative director mention an “oil and energy client”.) Braden Reddall, a spokesperson for Chevron, confirmed to Earther in an email that the position was for a gig at the oil and gas giant.
“Our ambition is to proactively tell the Chevron story through engaging, consumer-facing digital content,” Reddall wrote. “Like other companies, we are working to evolve the way we create and deliver our branded content to readers, both internal and external. As stated in the job posting, these are stories that can be leveraged across our digital ecosystem: chevron.com, newsletters, social media, paid search, and internal news site.”
The production of internal communications and paid media as a corporate strategy is on the rise. But it’s definitely worth noting here that Chevron has a very specific history of paying for creating “news” extolling the company’s virtues. Most notably, Chevron pays for a “newspaper” in Richmond, California, where a Chevron refinery discharged pollution on predominantly black and Latino communities for decades. the Richmond Standard– which has a disclaimer saying it is funded by Chevron and aims to “give Chevron Products Company a voice on civic issues” – was launched after the refinery explosion in 2012 (the third time that she had done it).
The site disseminates information unrelated to Chevron, but has also published articles dissolve anti-oil activists. A Guardian 2014 characteristic on this site the editor begins with the incredible lede that he has been called “a corporate prostitute, a propagandist for big oil companies, a pollution apologist, Voldemort and more”, which seems to be a great addition to job description for new position. (Reddall did not respond to Earthher’s questions about whether these new positions were related to the effort at Richmond.)
More broadly, the oil and gas industry is behind the idea of hiring people to produce paid content disguised as news to promote their product. Exxon started the trend in the 1970s, when the company ran full pages in The New York Times and disguised pro-Exxon advertisements to look like newspaper editorials. More recently, oil companies have leverage Instagram influencers to broadcast their messaging in sponsored and wormed posts propaganda disguised as news in some of the most important political bulletins. Hiring “journalists” to be part of an in-house “newsroom,” as the job posting says, seems like a natural next step.
It should also be noted that the position is posted as public relations companies more and more under fire to work with Big Oil. Some agencies have made efforts to separate themselves from the industry altogether, while public relations giant Edelman has drawn widespread criticism for keeping polluters as clients. following a notice. Studies have shown that oil and gas company messaging and PR machines proliferate as a result of bad press and political action. Considering the terrible year oil majors that Chevron had in 2021, this effort seems like a chance to reset and try to portray the company as a nicer, softer major polluter.
And frankly, I’m sold. Consider this position my resignation from Earther*; Big Oil, I’m ready to tell your stories. No, not the ones on the way you refuse to pay a settlement to the tribes of the Amazon or demonize the lawyer who beat you. And certainly not stories about all homophobic bigots you fund in Congress or these pesky oil spills it keeps happening. And certainly not something about trying to use protests against police brutality as a corner problem to continue pumping oil. No, we will definitely find feel-good stories that I’m sure are lurking somewhere.
* For legal reasons, this is a joke; Earther, I still love you.