The Media and our Beaches in Destin FL

Destin beautiful Beach in the middle of the spill Late June.

Well another summer season has come and gone on the emerald coast and I have to say I am very disappointed with the media.  You know so many great people make their livings on the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Its beauty is enjoyed by those of us who live here and is a massive draw to others all over the country as well, thus our way of life revolves heavily around tourism.  As a Destin photographer making his living by the very heart of what makes Destin and the Beaches of South Walton work (tourism) I am so mad at the way the media portrayed the oil spill.  I am on the beach just about every day of the week and I have to say we had virtually nothing to worry about.  But because the media talked about the oil and the entire region being a disaster the livelihoods of the folks that make their living on the gulf coast have had their businesses threatened, most everyone has had a nonprofit season and the season typically carries everyone through to next season.  The worst case is that some businesses have closed and the ones that haven’t are holding on by a thread.  Media is powerful and before they start making all kinds of assumptions about how catastrophic things are they might want to make sure that catastrophic is really the case.  Our area has had very few hard-hitting issues with regards to the environment as far as I know.  To be clear the literally four or five tar balls that I actually saw were no bigger than my thumb nail.  Yet as a result of the media, businesses all over town have suffered.  We have all heard about the domino effect.  Do we really know what that means?  From my perspective it means for example we start with a vacation planed by the Jones in January of 2010 to stay at xyz resort or with xyz vacation Rental Company.  The media announces our area is devastated and doesn’t let up.  The Jones call and cancel their vacation.  Multiply this effect times the number of folks we see during our season, and then attach the domino effect.  No bookings means no revenue for the company which means they have to cut back in every aspect of how they run their business.  Further, food from ice cream to five-star dining, water activities from fishing to canoeing, movies, night life, grocery stores, retail establishments, golf courses, Weddings and beach portrait photography.  Every single thing that we have to offer in Destin and The Beaches of South Walton has been affected by the media and how they portrayed our little spot on the map.  Don’t get me wrong I am not saying we shouldn’t be concerned about the state of the areas that took the hits however, I don’t feel that we should be plastering an 800 number all over the news  to cancel vacations  because of the devastation that happen miles and miles away from us.  We shouldn’t assume devastation to areas based on nothing more than a guess.  There are too many people’s livelihoods at stake to make such a blanket statement that could and has affected the area so badly.  The oil has almost been completely capped at this point and we still don’t know how much oil or to use BP’s term “Plums” are under the water  so we still don’t know what’s going to happen or how much the oil is going to continue to affect our environment.  All I hope is that Destin and the Beaches of South Walton stays clean and the media changes the way they present the news.  Our communities are strong and we will get through this.  So everyone that’s reading this is already thinking about coming back and I say to you come enjoy The Beaches of the Emerald Coast and enjoy your vacation and don’t forget to schedule your beach photography at

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