It's Not Big-Oil Propaganda, Dammit

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Chesapeake Energy has announced the creation of "an online news channel" devoted to the Barnett Shale, a potentially huge natural-gas find that lies under much of the area around Fort Worth.

Tracy Rowlett, a retiring Dallas anchorman who is to DFW what Ron Stone was to Houston, will be the managing editor. Olive Talley, a highly respected reporter who made her bones with the Houston Post and Chronicle before moving on to the Dallas Morning News and network-television producer gigs, will be executive editor.

Hmmm. Not to be blunt, Talley, but won't this job be, well....essentially energy-giant propaganda?

No way, she says.

"Chesapeake has given us assurances that they don't need any PR help; they already have PR people," she says. "They were not going to bring us on-board to do that, nor would we have been willing to come on-board to be PR shills, as we've been called."

Talley says Chesapeake is involved in a similar effort, cleanskies.tv, that she says has presented views across the political spectrum.

Chesapeake VP Julie Wilson "has told us she wants us to go out and do our jobs as journalists, and she's said it repeatedly," Talley says. "And I believe it. So I figure there's nothing to lose by going out and trying it. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But I'm actually very confident it will work."

Talley says critics should simply watch what they put up on the (Internet) air when the website goes live this fall. Which, we believe, is what Leni Riefenstahl said way back when.

Nah, just kidding. Talley and Rowlett are actually pretty big and impressive names. But it will be interesting to see just how far they're allowed to go.

-- Richard Connelly

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.