Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Our beaches are free of oil

Residents and visitors enjoy southwest Florida beaches.

Residents and visitors enjoy southwest Florida beaches.

 
Residents and visitors enjoy southwest Florida beaches.

The following is an excerpt of an email message Coastal Breeze News received from Vip Grover, President of the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce:

“As you are all aware, the Deep Horizon Oil Spill is an event that MAY have an adverse affect on the ecological and physical beauty of our area. The possibility of an adverse economic affect also exists and is, in some ways, already being seen. Obviously, as a community-at-large we have to prepare for the POSSIBILITY that we may have to do more than plan for it. As of now, however, we are suffering no “real” affects of the spill.
Your publication [is] seen locally, but through both hard-copy and the internet, [is] seen all over the world. On behalf of the Chamber of Commerce and its over 700 members, I would like to encourage your organization to show ongoing discretion and control when writing stories about the situation. To sensationalize the scene with headlines filled with hyperbole will not help any of us. The short-term and long-term affect will only be to make potential visitors wary of traveling to our area and, as a result, adversely impact an economic situation that already has enough hurdles to jump.
 Obviously, you have to report the news as it is and neither I nor the Chamber of Commerce would ever ask you to do otherwise. We do ask, however, that you do try to keep the hyperbole and the sensationalism, in the form of content, tag-lines and headlines, to a minimum. In the long-run, your reporting will be an accurate depiction of the situation, for which your organizations will be praised and the adverse economic effects will me kept to a minimum. Thank you, as always, for the work you do to accurately and responsibly report the news.
On behalf of our 700 members, I thank you, in advance, for your consideration of this request.”

As Managing Editor, I responded to Mr. Grover and the Chamber members with a message to thank him for addressing the potential impact of exaggerated or sensationalized reporting of the possible effects to our shoreline of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. His point was very well taken. I also assured him that we at Coastal Breeze News will keep in mind that, to date, oil has not been located on the beaches of southwest Florida. We are also cognizant of the fact that negative publicity can be detrimental to the local economy and the well-being of businesses in the area. We have reported the readiness of local authorities and government agencies to deal with the situation should it arise, and we will continue to keep our readers up to date on this vitally important topic.

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