Letter: Inaccurate reporting of Light-up Night in newspaper

Nancy Shaver, Mayor
City of St Augustine, Florida

Dear Historic City News editor:

I am writing today regarding inaccurate reporting in The St Augustine Record newspaper last week and their Editorial:” Fake News Has Come Home to Roost” 11/21/2018

I just want to be sure that Historic City News readers are aware of the following response sent by me directly to their editor.

Yes, I am a cheerleader for our City. I’m also a cheerleader for accurate information, and for the Fourth Estate.

I did call out the inaccurate reporting by The Record of 150 protestors at Light-Up Night; the actual easily verifiable count was about 50.

From the Flagler Gargoyle, reporter Katie Garwood:

“Nearly 50 protesters followed .., walking around the Plaza and chanting “

Our City staff count was 58.

The actions of 50 or so people at a community celebration that drew thousands of people don’t seem front page news to me. And I think we all know that social media chatter isn’t always what actually happens. The City did pass an ordinance aimed at keeping everyone safe—and the news to me (maybe not front page) is, it worked as intended.

And yes, I was disappointed that the Record didn’t think the 25th year of Light-Up Night and the honorees deserved frontpage coverage.

But all that’s your choice as a newspaper.

What I don’t believe is the choice of responsible journalism is reporting to the public that there were 150 protestors when there were 50 (and two Christian demonstrators and eight HareKrishna—that’s from my count)

Everyone makes mistakes- it’s acknowledging them that matters.

As the headline on your editorial stated, “Fake News Has Come Home to Roost”. I trust it’s not here to stay.