An interesting phenomenon is developing at the Billings Gazette which has until now not received much attention. The Gazette is now selling the opportunity to the oil, coal, and gas companies to purchase not just advertising, but reporting.
The Gazette hired Yellowstone County GOP chair and former Conrad Burns staffer Jennifer Owen as editor of something called the Montana Energy Review — a Billings Gazette quarterly publication, with an affiliated website describing the magazine as “comprehensive reporting on energy economics and policy.”
I’m told by a source in the industry that the energy magazine has both advertisers and “stakeholders”–companies that as investing partners helped determine the magazine’s scope. Perhaps the Gazette was unable to get any of their current reporters to accept payments to write news with a particular slant. Whatever the reason, they hired the chair of the local Republican party to do it. After all, Owen is affiliated with an organization whose state convention featured a booth in which one could pay to shoot at a target labeled “wind energy.”