‘TO TELL THE TRUTH’: Californians find the real oil story in Destin

Posted on by Susie

Thought this was an interesting read. It was posted on the Destin Log by Andrew Metz. It is a good story about an outside look into the effects of the BP Oil Spill in the Destin Area. Now if we could only get this information out to everyone. We have not seen oil on the beach in about a month!!! Here is the article and we hope you enjoy!

Neda Iranpour and Nicole Hendrix were frustrated in their search for accurate news about the recent plight of the Gulf Coast.

As employees of KOVR, the Sacramento, Calif., CBS television affiliate, Iranpour and Hendrix know when a story deserves national coverage. But they have found that in the time since the demise of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, balanced coverage has been hard to come by.

So they took it upon themselves to visit different coastal communities to find the real stories.

“We heard the beaches were stained orange,” said Hendrix, a promotions coordinator at KOVR who also served as a cameraperson on the trip. “We paid for this ourselves, and we’re giving it to the station.”

They were joined by their friend and freelance cameraman, Ivan Harder, who flew into New Orleans for the three-day mission.

On their final day on Friday, their trip led them to the Destin harbor, where they boarded the Southern Star for an early morning cruise to learn about the effect the spill has had on Destin. They were joined by Mayor Sam Seevers and the Southern Star’s co-owner Steve Wilson.

“We’ve got to be able to help our citizens,” said Seevers from the bow of the Southern Star. “So far, we’ve done what we do best. We pull up our bootstraps and help each other.”

The crew filmed as Iranpour asked questions and Seevers and Wilson explained that Destin’s tourism industry has taken a significant hit in the wake of the spill.

“It shouldn’t happen,” said Seevers. “Look, it’s beautiful out here.”

She also explained the problems facing Destin’s fishing industry. Her proposition for aiding their business? Extending red snapper season.

“It’s an easy fix,” she said. “They need to open red snapper season all the way to October for the Destin Fishing Rodeo.”

As a business owner who is seeing numbers significantly lower than that of a year ago, Wilson was happy to provide his two cents.

“The water’s just as pristine as it was 10 years ago,” said Wilson. “What we’re trying to do is get the word out that Destin is unaffected by oil.”

Later that day, the Californians boarded a flight back home with some new perspective.

“You come here and it’s beautiful,” said Iranpour, a reporter for KOVR. “It’s a place I want to vacation in.”

But she was not able to leave other communities with the same feeling. She described scenes of devastation before their arrival in Destin that didn’t leave much room for optimism.

“I mean I’m worried about the animals,” she said. “That’s the part that really hurts when you think about it … Scientists are legitimately worried that we’re going to lose entire species.”

For the sake of the region, these entrepreneurial journalists are hoping that they help start a trend in offering the rest of the world a more accurate picture about the state of the Gulf Coast.

“We wanted to be where the story is,” said Iranpour. “We wanted to see if it was as bad as what the media was showing … we’re here to tell the truth.”

To see more from the team, visit cbs13.com.

“We said, ‘let’s go there, I’ll bet they’re passionate,’ ” Iranpour said of choosing Destin. “I feel like Destin will survive through it all.”

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