Chevron is coming under fire for its Richmond Standard news website, which extends the brand journalism concept to something more akin to brand-sponsored journalism.
Critics such as Los Angeles Times writer Michael Hiltzik have objected that the website is full of “corporate PR disguised as community ‘news,’” despite the site’s above-the-fold declaration that it is, in fact, a Chevron website.
Is this a case of a company trying to shoehorn its propaganda into a content-marketing format, or is it truly a service to its community?
Under the site’s “news” header, you’ll find stories about how a local pastor found and returned a missing wheelchair to a four-year-old girl with spina bifida, and how local high school students are getting free, one-on-one help with writing. In the same manner, the “community views,” “sports” and other sections cover the local events and successes of Richmond, California, a Bay Area city of 107,000 residents.