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Ernie Lyons, a gifted local writer and editor, championed the cause of environmental coverage, dating to the 1930s, and his successor, Tom Weber, first editor of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, was unwavering in continuing that commitment.
In his 1969 book, “My Florida,” Lyons wrote of our local rivers, “Their waters remind me of the Psalms and their beauty of what the hand of God has done. Why, I wonder, do we spend billions of dollars to get to the cold, bleak, barren, inhospitable landscape of the moon, but cannot afford to save for our children’s children a veritable Eden close at hand? Inevitably, these magic quiet places will be gone, the beauty of the jungle destroyed by what we call progress: houses, beer cans, water skiers and TV antennae.”
Today, we embrace the responsibility of carrying on the tradition of quality coverage of our waterways. We consider that a franchise topic, a bedrock of our content philosophy.
We have launched a section on our website, TCPalm.com, called “Our Indian River Lagoon.” It’s designed to be a primary source of news and information about our waterways, with an emphasis on the lagoon because that diverse estuary flows throughout the three-county Treasure Coast region.
Check out the coverage on your tablet, smartphone, laptop or personal computer at TCPalm.com/indianriverlagoon and look for updates with the Twitter hashtag #IndianRiverLagoon. The best content from the digital platforms will be published in our daily newspapers.
Coverage will focus on the health of the lagoon and its recreational aspects. Social media interaction is designed to be a key component, so we encourage your input.
Our goal is to explore the issues in depth and help find solutions to problems.
Audience research shows interest in this topic is high. That was confirmed at our recent “On the Record” reader forums about the lagoon. Under the leadership of community engagement editor Larry Reisman, who proposed and developed the concept, and columnist Eve Samples, the forums in Stuart and Vero Beach connected more than 120 of our subscribers with state legislators in a civil, direct and actionable exchange of ideas and opinions.
Feedback from subscribers who attended the forums and read about them was resounding: Keep covering this topic in every way possible.
Cheryl Smith, an experienced news editor, leads the “Our Indian River Lagoon” content team. Other core journalists on that talented team are Samples, Tyler Treadway, Ed Killer, Scott Wyland, Laurie Blandford, Kelly Rogers, Cheryl McCloud and Christin Erazo.
From topics as complex as pollution to invasive species to economic impact, we’ll have you covered.
We get our inspiration, in part, from the legacy established by editors Lyons and Weber.
A fitting closing to this column comes from this excerpt from Lyons’ “My Florida:”
“Drifting on the surface of a Florida jungle river I experience the feeling that nothing is ordinary, nothing is commonplace. The onyx surface of the water reflects in perfect color the images of the bushy-headed cabbage palms, the moss-draped live oaks and cypresses along the banks.
“What has happened to awe? Where has wonder gone? I suspect too much has been explained by the ignorant to the stupid. Modern man’s greatest loss of spirit may be that he has ceased to be amazed at the wonders all around him.”