Gene Randall 'Reporting,' Inc.

My article published yesterday in Columbia Journalism Review:

Former CNN correspondent-turned-PR consultant Gene Randall’s video “report” for oil giant Chevron might be unprecedented for how it blurred the line between public relations and journalism. But the Randall-Chevron production raises not only ethical questions, but also the question of whether a surge of newly pink-slipped reporters might go, as one media critic put it, “over to the dark side” and how that might further muddy the line between news and corporate advocacy.

As detailed in a recent New York Times article, when Chevron, America’s third largest corporation, heard that 60 Minutes was preparing a report about the $27 billion lawsuit filed against it for allegedly contaminating the Ecuador region of the Amazon rain forest, Chevron hired former TV newsman Randall to craft a video from the corporation’s perspective, which was posted on YouTube and Chevron’s Web site three weeks before the 60 Minutes report aired on May 3.

Read the rest of the article HERE. (The piece includes expert opinion by author and media critic Norman Solomon, Poynter Institute media ethicist Kelly McBride and FAIR senior analyst Steve Rendall. Don’t miss the particularly devastating quote by Solomon in which he calls out PBS NewsHour’s toxic relationship with Chevron.)