Chevron Joins News Publisher Wars in Richmond

Feb. 12, 2014 / By

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News Report, Sukey Lewis and Asha DuMonthier | New America Media
RICHMOND, Calif. — There’s a good old-fashioned muckraker’s war going on in Richmond, Calif., and Chevron’s “community-driven” news site Richmond Standard is the latest fighter to step into the ring.

This sprawling city east of San Francisco is home to Chevron’s oil refinery, which has made it a battleground between the company’s business interests and environmental activists who are calling for checks on air quality and safety.

Now, 

as part of the company’s latest effort to rehabilitate its image in the city, Chevron is launching its own community news site.

Chevron spokesperson Melissa Ritchie said that Chevron wanted to start the site because, “We want to make sure there’s a way to have a conversation with Richmond.”

But many community members complain that Chevron is already communicating too much with Richmond – and that the communication only goes one way.

Chevron is doing a lot of talking, but not much listening, says resident Najari Smith, a spokesman for Black Mobilization Organization Education Richmond (BMOER) and contributing writer for San Francisco Bay View. “While everyone can have a voice, you can pay for a lot of voice,” said Smith, pointing to the many billboards advertising Chevron across the city, the newsletters it sends out, and the publications distributed by For Richmond, a non-profit funded by the oil company.

Chevron’s news site is the latest addition to a group of new media outlets in a city that for decades had no newspaper.

Read more at Richmond Pulse

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What makes the RICHMOND PULSE different from other news organizations is that it is community based, youth-led, and with a focus on any issue that affects the health of the overall community. Young people will be trained in the craft of multimedia reporting, effectively becoming the eyes and ears of their community and bringing their stories to a wider audience through the web as well as a local newspaper that will be distributed widely throughout the city of Richmond, and beyond.